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 Huffmannpr.org
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.