Communities on Reddit are ‘going dark’ (or: the ‘price’ of a public social network)

The latest news has hit the internet hard: the biggest communities on Reddit have decided to stop functioning for the next 48 hours, effective on June 12th, 2023. What has Reddit done to cause nearly half of its subscribers to lose access to their favorite communities?

The explanation summary:
Starting from July 1st, 2023, Reddit intends to charge developers of third-party apps to pay enormous sums of money if they wish to stay active.
(Source: r/pics subreddit – official statement)

Reddit’s official app was developed many years after the website was founded, back in 2016. This is why third-party apps such as Sync, ReddPlanet and Reddit is Fun, were set up so people could access the platform on mobile. And now, the developers will be exponentially charged if they wish to continue using Reddit’s API. This is especially applicable to “premium access”, effectively killing off popular third-party Reddit apps such as Apollo, which lets users browse the site with a customizable interface.

The developers’ answer? All of the aforementioned apps will apparently shut down as a result of the new pricing.

“Reddit needs to be a self-sustaining business, and to do that, we can no longer subsidize commercial entities that require large-scale data use.” – Reddit CEO Steve Huffman

Popular subreddits, such as r/gaming, r/aww, r/Music, r/todayilearned, r/pics, r/iPhone, are all temporarily shutting down. The number of members in these communities range from 1 to over 30 million members. Some of them, such as r/videos, have already turned their lights off indefinitely – supposedly until the situation is resolved.

…Or so the moderators of aforementioned communities hope.

From a humane standpoint, this boycott is fairly righteous.
From a financial standpoint of a business owner, opinions may vary.
But from the standpoint of an average community member, they’ve lost access to social networks they love and frequent on a daily basis.
So yes, there’s a battle going on, but there’s also very large collateral.

This occurrence is the biggest pitfall of public social networks. Community moderators have the power to take a community down, with or without the members’ support. But ultimately, Reddit has the executive power to remove “owners” of the communities and effectively take over.

When public social networks fail – and they always do at some point – where do people turn to?

Using Reddit, Facebook, Twitter and other popular mediums is all fine and great, but in the end, if you want to run a community, being on a third-party platform can eventually lead to losing it one way or another. No matter what, you never hold the cards.

There’s a really easy solution to this problem: private online communities. While the corporations increasingly grab for power and money, people will start turning more and more to private solutions which are completely in their own hands. If your community is your own, it can never be de-platformed / canceled by someone who is basically holding your chain.

If you want to gather people around the same cause, idea, interest, project, or whatever you think of, there’s no better time than now.

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Brought to you by PeepSo Team Jasmina Blagojevic
I specialize in the scope of Human Resources, Research, Proofreading, Blog Writing, Copywriting and Transcription, with plenty of experience in each position. I'm bilingual; Serbian and English are my languages and I speak & write both equally well. I've always been invested in IT, Agile and studying people's behavior on Social Networks. And I 💗 PeepSo! My mission is to provide impeccable content and the best presentation possible according to facts and research. I hope I'll continue contributing to our wonderful Team until I'm old and arthritic. I have a special appreciation for artistic & technical design, as well as marketing strategies. Sometimes I unwind by writing fictional novels (in English) in my spare time. I have a deep understanding with animals. Occasionally I get along with humans too ^^ I love traveling and discovering new places, especially warm seaside where I'd like to settle down one day. I enjoy old school metal music, and I'm an RPG gamer to the core.

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@peepso_user_10386(Josh Lewis)
One of my favourite online communities that was once thriving daily got bought up and ran into the ground due to bad practices. I kept hoping the situation would improve which I had a big influence in keeping things afloat. However that didn't last which led to opting to becoming independent. Reddit has been growing on me the last 2 years which it's a shame that it's come to this rather than peacefully negotiating with 3rd party developers. I'm sure they could have figured out a way for advertisers to work with 3rd parties and Reddit so that both entities benefit. But sometimes the higher ups are quick to pull the plug before working with others to find a solution. It's happened to the best in the industry.
@peepso_user_23147(Johannes Genberg)
Being that big makes them very expensive to run. You need a lot of people, and thus, pay a lot of salaries. Not to mention the cost of servers and what-not.

I think the only solution might be to go back to the early to mid 2000s, when people created small, independent communities just for the fun of it. That costs a lot less, and thus can be more or less on a voluntary basis. The downside is of course that you no longer can have everything in one place, but that's how things usually work: you have to decide what is more important.

And hey, isn't that convenient for PeepSo, as that is exactly what it is here for 🙂
@peepso_user_10(Matt Jaworski)
Reddit is going for IPO, which means the owners are bout to cash out, and they might not quite care anymore. Trying to slash costs and improve revenue to make the numbers look better. The greed is killing Reddit as we watch.

We'll see how things work out, but I wish the subreddit owners/managers went with PeepSo or similar solutions, the Web feels too centralized right now.
@peepso_user_51099(Debra Basson)
Hectically scary, a reminder that one's business in any form can be gone tomorrow from a threat that one least expects.