Redditors are turning subreddits dark in protest over CEO’s API stance

12 Jun 2023

Image: ©Rey/

At the time of publication, almost 6,600 subreddits have gone dark, some for 48 hours, while others have said indefinitely.

Thousands of angry subreddit moderators are protesting against Reddit’s plans to revise its API pricing by turning individual subreddits dark – or restricting access to them.

Subreddits are forums on Reddit dedicated to various different topics. Normally they can be accessed and joined by anyone but in light of Reddit CEO Steve Huffman’s decision to rethink API pricing, many subreddits are restricting their access.

According to a website called Reddark, which is monitoring the protests, there are almost 6,600 subreddits out of more than 7,000 gone dark at the time of publication. Some forums are only restricting access for 48 hours, while others may do so indefinitely.

The redditors are implementing this blackout following a question-and-answer session Huffman did on the AMA (Ask Me Anything) subreddit last Friday.

Huffman appeared to double down on his views over restricting APIs which a lot of users did not like.

APIs allow third-party developers to obtain publicly available data from sites like Reddit, Facebook and Twitter that can be used to create external apps that link back to the site.

Reddit wants to monetise access to its APIs, and it has been criticised by many developers and reddit users alike. The developer of an iOS app for browsing Reddit called Apollo said his business would no longer be profitable if he had to pay for APIs.

In his AMA, Huffman said that “Reddit needs to be a self-sustaining business, and to do that, we can no longer subsidise commercial entities that require large-scale data use.”

He acknowledged that there has been “a lot of confusion” over what these changes in API policy mean. In his attempts to highlight what the changes mean for moderators and developers he seemed to anger a lot of users who expressed their frustration at the changes directly to him.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.