Around 3,500 of subreddit forums are staging a 48-hour blackout in protest of Reddit’s new pricing policy. The policy charges third-party apps for using the platform’s API, causing backlash from users and community moderators. The blackout aims to draw attention to the issue and seek resolution.

According to BBC News, many popular third-party apps, such as Apollo, have already announced that they will be shutting down due to the new charges. As a result, these subreddit forums, which are online communities focused on specific topics, will go private for the duration of the protest.

The protest was initiated by a user named u/Toptomcat, who stated in a post on June 2 that several subreddits would be going dark to express their dissatisfaction with the policy. Some of these subreddits plan to return after 48 hours, while others may disappear permanently unless the issue is addressed adequately. The lack of efficient tools provided by the official Reddit app has been a major concern for many moderators.

In response to the backlash, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman acknowledged the frustration expressed by the community. He mentioned that he had been in discussions with several moderators regarding the matter. Huffman expressed his appreciation for the feedback from the moderators and their efforts to highlight their needs and concerns.

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The decision to charge for using the API stems from Reddit’s aim to become a self-sustaining business. The company does not want to provide its valuable data for free to commercial entities that rely on large-scale data use. Huffman clarified in a post that Reddit needed to be self-sufficient to ensure its sustainability.

However, the introduction of the pricing policy has led to the closure of apps like Apollo. Its developer, Christian Selig, revealed that Reddit demanded a fee of $0.24 for every 1,000 requests to its API, prompting the app’s shutdown on June 30. The new pricing policy is set to take effect from July 1.

Big tech companies like Google and Microsoft utilize Reddit data to train their artificial intelligence systems. The impact of this protest and the subsequent response from Reddit may have significant implications for these companies as well.

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As of now, Reddit has not provided an official comment on the situation, but the protest and the blackout are likely to draw attention to the issue and put pressure on the platform to address the concerns raised by its users and moderators.