These 21 Subreddits Are Going Dark to Protest Reddit’s API Changes

Reddit is in for a rude awakening, just ask some of its most popular subreddits. To protest Reddit’s recent plan to charge for access to its API, some of the platform’s biggest communities will be going dark for at least two days.

In April, Reddit announced that it would be charging companies for access to its application programming interface (API), much the way Twitter opted to when Elon Musk realized he wasn’t making enough money. While Reddit said that the decision was to keep companies like Google and OpenAI from training their artificial intelligence models on Reddit content, charging for API dealt a blow to third-party apps, like Apollo.

“Crawling Reddit, generating value and not returning any of that value to our users is something we have a problem with,” Steve Huffman, founder and CEO of Reddit, told The New York Times. “It’s a good time for us to tighten things up.” He added: “We think that’s fair.”

Apollo is a third-party Reddit viewer that relies on the platform’s API to generate a certain browsing experience, similar to programs like Twitterific and Tweetbot. To avid Redditors, Apollo fixed a lot of the issues that Reddit seemingly overlooked, like an overall improved browsing experience, collapsed comments with inline previews, better media displays, and the ability to enable a screenreader. Apollo has built a hefty fanbase of users who much prefer it to the Reddit mobile app, and founder and developer Christian Selig took to Reddit (of all places) to announced that the platform was charging $12,000 per 50 million requests to access its API—an unsustainable figure for most programmers.

“Apollo made 7 billion requests last month, which would put it at about 1.7 million dollars per month, or 20 million US dollars per year. Even if I only kept subscription users, the average Apollo user uses 344 requests per day, which would cost $2.50 per month, which is over double what the subscription currently costs, so I’d be in the red every month.” Selig wrote on the official Apollo subreddit. “I’m deeply disappointed in this price. Reddit iterated that the price would be A) reasonable and based in reality, and B) they would not operate like Twitter.”

Selig was not the only one disappointed in Reddit’s decision to gatekeep its API. On one hand, it’s good that AI models from the likes of Google and OpenAI have less access to train. On the other hand, it’s a pity that so many programmers—who are constructing tools and features to enhance the reddit experience—are now unable to pursue their projects. In response to Reddit’s decision and Selig’s post, several subreddits have announced that they will be protesting by ceasing all interactions, posting, moderation, and commenting within their communities for at least two days.

“We understand that Reddit, like any company, must balance its financial obligations. However, we believe that the longevity and success of this platform rest on preserving the rich ecosystem that has developed around it.” Reddit moderators wrote in a collective letter posted to the Moderator Coordination subreddit. “We urge Reddit’s management to reconsider the recent API pricing change, finding a compromise that allows third-party app developers to continue contributing to this platform’s success.”

There are hundreds of subreddits participating in the shutdown protest, which begins on June 12 and will last for at least two days. Here are some of the biggest.