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Reddit Subreddits Go Dark in Response to API Fees

Reddit has suffered a massive blackout as almost 7,200 of its subreddits have gone dark. The moderators of these communities are protesting the company’s recent decision to charge certain third-party apps for access to its application programming interface (API). The API powers popular tools which give users an alternate way to browse Reddit’s forums.

The Effect of the Blackout on Reddit

The protest is a significant challenge for Reddit, alienating users, and the volunteers who maintain the subreddits. It’s also grabbed the attention of Wall Street, as Reddit filed for an IPO in 2021. Since the filing, the company has stayed in a holding pattern, and it’s expected to begin trading later this year. However, with its most popular subreddits offline, such as r/gaming, r/pics, and r/todayilearned, Reddit’s hopes of exceeding $1 billion in annual ad revenue by 2023 could be difficult to achieve.

The list of subreddits that are participating in the protest can be found on Twitch. Of the 88 most popular subreddits, which range between 5 million and 40 million subscribers, only 15 are visible to users.

Why Are Subreddits Going Dark?

The moderators of subreddits that have gone dark have done so out of love for Reddit. In a post explaining the blackout, a spokesperson for the moderators said, “This isn’t something any of us do lightly. We do what we do because we love Reddit, and we truly believe this change will make it impossible to keep doing what we love due to the poor moderation tools available through the official app.”

Duration of the Protest

The protest is scheduled to last until June 14, but it could be extended or take other forms, moderators say, if Reddit does not adjust its plans regarding API fees. Several popular subreddits, including r/music, with over 30 million subscribers, say they will stop operating “indefinitely” since moderators state they are unable to do their work with the tools available on Reddit’s official app.

Reddit’s Response

Despite the massive backlash, a Reddit spokesperson said that the site did not plan to make any changes to its API updates. In an AMA session last Friday, Reddit CEO, Steve Huffman, said, “We respect when you and your communities take action to highlight the things you need, including, at times, going private. We are all responsible for ensuring Reddit provides an open accessible place for people to find community and belonging.”

Third-Party Apps are Also Affected

Several third-party apps, including Apollo, have said that the pricing on the API will force them to shut down their services. The API pricing change has caused frustration and disappointment among the app developers. There have also been accusations of Reddit’s management lying, slandering and vilifying one of the nicest guys in their indie app world while also unceremoniously killing off an app he worked on for many years.


In conclusion, the blackout has caused significant disruption for Reddit and its users, with 7,200 of its subreddits going dark due to the Reddit’s recent decision to impose API fees. The blackout is set to last until June 14, and it remains to be seen whether there will be any changes to Reddit’s API fees or a further protest. Third-party app developers are also affected by the API fees, leading to frustration and disappointment among the app developers who rely on Reddit’s API.

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