Staying dark: Reddit blackout rolls on past deadline over pricing war


More than 5,000 subreddits have continued staying dark in protest of incoming changes to Reddit’s API pricing policies—despite dwindling participation and concern from users that the protest will not be effective.
In this photo illustration, a hand is seen holding a...

Image: Getty

Key Takeaways
  • The Reddit blackout was initially set to end Wednesday for most subreddits, but more than 5,000 of the 8,000 that were down earlier this week have remained dark.
  • The blackout does not have a central organizing group—the lack of which may contribute to differing blackout timelines.
  • Under the new changes, third-party app developers that require high usage limits will be charged $0.24 for every 1,000 API calls, which enable applications to request data or services from a separate application—an integral process to services provided by third-party apps.
  • Third-party apps like Apollo and Reddit is Fun plan to shut down their services on June 30 as a result of the changes—citing costs of up to $20 million if they were to keep their services running with the planned API changes.
  • Despite thousands of subreddits staying dark, some Reddit users are saying the protest’s strategy is flawed, while others have said extending the blackout will only affect users and not Reddit itself.
  • Reddit declined to comment on the continuation of the blackout.
Key Background

At the peak of the blackout, more than 8,000 subreddits went dark in support of the API protest—though Reddit told Forbes earlier this week it was not “planning any changes to the API updates” they previously announced.

Before the protest was planned to end Wednesday for most subreddits, The Verge published an internal company memo from Reddit that informed employees the blackout would pass and was not having a significant impact on revenue—a development that became one of the primary motivations behind an indefinite blackout for many subreddits.

The changes were first announced in April, and by this month, popular subreddits like r/music, r/sports, r/gaming and many more participated in a blackout that either restricted or completely stopped followers of their pages from interacting with them.



Reddit co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman addressed the API changes in an ill-received post last week. He cited Reddit’s need to keep operating as a self-sustaining business as the reason for the API changes, saying, “we can no longer subsidize commercial entities that require large-scale data use.”

Reddit spokesperson Tim Rathschmidt told Forbes on Tuesday that the API call pricing was based on usage levels comparable to the company’s own costs.

This article was first published on and all figures are in USD.

More from Forbes Australia