May 20, 2024


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Reddit blackout: Subreddits will go private on Monday

Reddit blackout: Subreddits will go private on Monday

  • Written by Tom Gerkin
  • Technology reporter

image source, Getty Images

photo caption,

Apollo is a popular Reddit troll at the heart of the protest

Thousands of Reddit communities will not be reached on Monday to protest how the site is being operated.

Reddit offers controversial fees to third-party app developers, which are used to surf the social media platform.

But this has led to a backlash, with moderators in some of the largest subreddits making their communities private for 48 hours in protest.

As a result, approximately 3,500 subforums will become inaccessible.

A subreddit is the name given to a forum within the Reddit platform – a community of people who come together to discuss specific interests.

Reddit users — or Redditors — typically join a variety of subreddits, rather than follow individual users on other platforms, and see posts from these communities in their feed.

Reddit, unlike other social media sites, relies heavily on societal moderation.

In addition to a few paid administrators, the website uses tens of thousands of unpaid moderators — known as mods — to keep the site running.

These mods may take an hour or two a day to ensure that their subreddit isn’t filled with off-topic comments, prohibited content, or even illegal content.

But the flip side of that is that Reddit doesn’t charge any hosting fees for people who want to create their own community based on their interests.

“We respect when you and your communities take action to shine a light on the things you need, including, sometimes, privacy,” he said.

“We are all responsible for ensuring that Reddit provides an open, accessible place for people to find community and belong.”

He also confirmed that explicit content will remain on the site, but that Reddit will limit how it can be accessed from third-party apps.

The blackout will include a total of 3,489 subreddits, including five of the 10 most popular communities on the site — r/gaming, r/aww, r/Music, r/todayilearned, and r/pics — which each have a membership of more than 30 million people. .

The director of one of these sub-forums told the BBC that the protest was about “strength in numbers”.

“If it’s one subsite that goes private, Reddit might get involved,” they said.

“But if it’s half of the entire website, you feel a lot more pressure.

“This is a completely voluntary position, we don’t receive any financial compensation, and despite that, we’d love to take it very seriously.”

They said they wanted Reddit moderators to realize that they depended on moderators to run the site and felt the only way to send a message was to hurt Reddit traffic.

“Our entire community supports us against this change,” they said.

“It’s nice to be able to say, ‘We’re not going to continue to moderate our communities if you push these changes through.'”

The front page of the Internet

Reddit, which describes itself as the “front page of the internet,” does have an official app — but it was developed in 2016, many years after the site was founded.

For this reason, third-party apps such as Apollo, Reddit is Fun, Sync, and ReddPlanet are set up as a way for people to access the platform on their mobile devices.

Reddit has introduced a series of tolls for developers who want to continue using the Application Programming Interface (API) — the behind-the-scenes code that allows third-party apps to find and serve content on Reddit.

All four of these apps said they would shut down as a result of Reddit’s new API pricing.

The accusations have been heavily criticized as extortion – with Apollo developer Christian Selig claiming it would end up costing him $20m (£15.9m) to keep the app running.

But a Reddit spokesperson told the BBC that Apollo was “significantly less efficient” than other third-party apps.

They said the social media platform spends “millions of dollars on hosting fees” and “needs to be paid fairly” to continue supporting third-party apps.

“Our pricing is based on usage levels that we measure to be comparable to our own costs,” they said.

The spokesperson also said that not all third-party apps require paid access. Previously, Reddit announced that it would not ship apps that make the platform more user-friendly.

But the broker the BBC spoke to said he believed the blackout could continue until Reddit retracts the changes.

“Every society operates differently, and different mediators have different views on what is happening now, so it varies.

“But given recent communications between moderators and Reddit admins, I don’t think they intend to reverse these changes.”

And some communities, like r/Music — which has 32 million members — say the subreddit won’t be accessible indefinitely until Reddit reverses its policy.