Reddit users lose chat messages before 2023 in latest anti-user move

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 15, 2023

Reddit users who have used the site's chat functionality prior to 2023 may have noticed that all records of 2022 and earlier are no longer accessible.

Reddit keeps records of chat messages between users, private conversations, and users could access these at any time while logged in to their account.

Reddit users who use the "new" Reddit in a web browser or the Reddit mobile application on iOS or Android, can't access chat messages before January 1, 2023 anymore. The removal has been caused by a migration of the site's chat infrastructure.

The site's chat infrastructure was migrated in June 2023 and and the decision was made to ignore messages before January 1, 2023 to "have a smooth and quick transition". The announcement was made in June 2023 and many Reddit users appear to have missed it.

Reddit did not explicitly mention that older chat data would be removed in the process, which may have been a reason for users were caught off guard. Not everyone is reading official announcements on self.reddit either, the group where changes and announcements are published.

The migration happened on June 30, 2023 already, and users of the site started to take notice of the change since that day. Reddit engineers used January 1, 2023 as the cut off date. Any thread started before that day, even if it had activity in 2023, has not been migrated.

How to access and restore Reddit chat history

reddit data request

Reddit users have two options to regain access to their chat history. Those are not guaranteed to work and it is unclear for how long they may be around:

  1. Use the Old Reddit website. Using gives still access to chats, but only regular chats, not live chats are accessible here.
  2. Request a data export. Visit to request a full data export, which contains chat data. Note that it may take up to 30 days for Reddit to respond to this.

Closing Words

Reddit has made several anti-user changes lately on the site. In April 2023, Reddit announced that it would introduce a paid API that third-parties needed to use to access site content. The rates were set so high, that most third-party app developers announced that they could not afford them, let alone react to in the short time Reddit gave them to adjust.

Reddit also started to block logins on mobile for some users, asking them to use the official Reddit app instead. While there are still ways to access Reddit on mobile without account, the site's higher-ups seem hell-bent to get users to use the official Reddit app.

The community staged blackout protects, which set many popular Reddit forums to private, but this did not lead to any concessions.

Reddit users lose chat messages before 2023 in latest anti-user move
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Reddit users lose chat messages before 2023 in latest anti-user move
Reddit users who have used the site's chat functionality prior to 2023 may have noticed that all records of 2022 and earlier are no longer accessible. 
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  1. Mystique said on July 17, 2023 at 11:55 am

    I forgot to add that Teddit has called it recently and are shutting down.

    Reddit is definitely a dumpster fire.

    The biggest problem is that we have too many options right now or alternatives. Undoubtedly in 5 years time some of these will fail or thrive but right now it’s a scattered community all over the place.
    Twitter is going through much the same but we had to get to this point to reshuffle the internet to be honest. I personally could care less if we go back to forums just that we start rebuilding things and bringing back some quality.

    I wish more people would move away from Reddit.
    There are still some communities and even extension developers that maintain communities there which sucks and makes no sense because they should be on some sort of git site.

  2. yanta said on July 16, 2023 at 5:21 am

    Pissing off your users seems to be the trend these days.
    Microsoft has been doing it for decades. They are the gold standard is obnoxious, couldn’t care less attitudes bundled with rapidly declining development standards and updates that are completely useless.

    Twitter, Mozilla now Reddit (Just to name a couple),… all seem hell bent on their own destruction.
    And on the other side of the fence, streaming services and “Hollywood” are also going in the same direction.

    Even DuckDuckGo revealed their true colors, which it seems many people have forgotten.

    Well, as long as we have our cell phones to keep us dumb and engaged society will continue to decline but at least advertisers will be raking in the billions.

    1. Drake said on July 16, 2023 at 12:07 pm

      What has Mozilla done recently exactly?

  3. Weird-O said on July 15, 2023 at 4:18 pm

    I am apparently a very weird person. I don’t save sms, chat, email or any other messages ever on any platform or device. No archive, no history. I already read the message what do I need to save it for?

    So to read articles like this is weird for me. Borderline bizarre.

    I have friends that never erase anything they receive. Their wallets look fun too I might add, bursting at the seams from receipts or whatever.

    I guess we’re all different in endless ways.

    1. bruh said on July 17, 2023 at 10:52 am

      You don’t save SMS or email? You mean, you delete these items after they come in? Because they are saved automatically.

      There are lots of reasons it could be valuable to refer to past messages/emails, deleting everything is really weird, and can genuinely be unwise.

  4. Mystique said on July 15, 2023 at 3:17 pm

    This is just another example now here is two more.

    The developer of Joey for Reddit has had his access to the Reddit API cut unexpectedly as well as communications between himself and Reddit. They have basically stonewalled him and locked him out so as of now the APP has been shutdown. This just proves that Reddit has absolutely no interest in supporting third party apps or having any sorts of discussions with anyone. It’s basically a front to appear as if they care or are working with anyone. I am aware it was stated before and made very clear but now its abundantly clear.
    I am aware of one more app that is still working but I expect that to change shortly soon whilst the other is a sneaky app that appears to work outside of the rules and gives reddit the middle finger in every aspect.
    This does not include patched/modded apps either which still manage to function but as I have said in the past I wouldn’t bother because Reddit is garbage now. Huffman and co can stick it. Federated services have easily filled the void left behind by Reddit.
    Twitters days are numbered too by the looks of it. The Rich boy frat party is over for these clowns. As I have also said I hope Reddit sells for far less than what digg did and remains to languish as MySpace has.

    I believe Reddit has also killed their awards and Gold coins program which is causing some sort of uproar.
    I have no skin in the game and don’t care but this is also another example Reddit pissing off users.

  5. Al said on July 15, 2023 at 7:45 am

    This isn’t the only latest shot. For the past week (Or so.) RSS feeds have been getting 429 responses if you try to even check a few in a short period of time. It has been getting worse by the day. You can check it with a link checker or an RSS client. You check a certain amount and you get rate limited.

    If you look at posts (On Reddit) with the keyword RSS from the past 24 hours, there are a few of people finally starting to notice it happening, at major places like InoReader and Feedly. I run my own RSS server and when it started it was barely noticeable, but they have been making it worse over time.

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