Millions of Reddit users hit with 2-hour outage during ‘Blackout Day’


Reddit has been hit with a worldwide outage impacting millions of users as forums ‘go dark’ to protest the website’s increased developer fees.

Issues with problems on the website and app surfaced on DownDetector, a site that monitors online outages, at 10:25 am ET – but reports dissipated about two hours later.

It is unclear why Reddit was down Monday, but it occurred when more than 7,000 subreddits were switched to private in the largest user-led online protest. 

The movement is frustrated over price changes in developer fees, which could amount to millions of dollars for some users.

The protest is set to remain for 48 hours, but some users have warned they will not revert pages to the public if Reddit does not reconsider the increased pricing plans for apps that provide access to the site.

Users flocked to Twitter to inquire about a possible outage hitting Reddit, with one tweeting: ‘Nice to see even Reddit itself getting in on the Reddit Blackout today.’

Reddit has been hit with a worldwide outage impacting millions of users as forums 'go dark' to protest the website's increased developer fees

Reddit has been hit with a worldwide outage impacting millions of users as forums ‘go dark’ to protest the website’s increased developer fees 

What is Reddit?

Reddit launched in 2005 as a place for users to explore different topics organized in subreddits – more than 100,000.

Some popular examples are News, Movies, Funny, IAmA, Pics and LifeProTips. 

Users subscribe to these forums, allowing them to see new posts and interact with others shared by members. 

Other users can then determine the popularity of a post by either upvoting or downvoting the post.

And the more upvotes push the post higher up in the subreddit. 

What is Blackout Day?

Users have banned together in protest against Reddit’s April announcement that revealed it is increasing fees starting July 1. 

The change will charge developers access to its application programming interface (API) for third parties with ‘additional capabilities, higher usage limits, and broader usage rights.’

While Reddit sees the change as a way to sustain its future, developers hit back, saying it will destroy theirs. 

Christian Selig, the developer of Reddit client app Apollo, said the increased pricing new pricing would cost him as much as $20 million per year, Variety reports.

Apollo lets users view content from numerous sources, such as Imgur, Reddit and YouTube, in one place.

Other popular apps that connect to Reddit include Reddit is Fun, Sync and ReddPlanet. 

Selig continued explaining that this means Apollo plans to stop operations on June 30. 

The social news website went down while more than 6,500 subreddits went dark in one of the largest user-driven protests due to new developer fees

The social news website went down while more than 6,500 subreddits went dark in one of the largest user-driven protests due to new developer fees

He tweeted about the Blackout Sunday, thanking ‘the Reddit community and everyone standing up.’

Twitter users Rebecca Sloane responded: ‘I relied heavily on a subreddit support group during a difficult time in my life. 

‘For months, Apollo was the first app I opened when I woke up and the last one I closed before going to sleep.’

Subreddits for gaming, with more than 37 million members, and music, with over 32 million users, have been switched to private.

Thousands of other forums have joined the movement, some with more than 40 million members. 

What has Reddit said?

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman addressed users’ ‘frustrations’ in a Friday post to the site, laying out how the changes will work.

‘Effective July 1, 2023, the rate for apps that require higher usage limits is $0.24 per 1K API calls (less than $1.00 per user/month for a typical Reddit third-party app),’ Hoffman wrote.

He continued: ‘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.’

While Hoffman is looking out for the future of Reddit, the move could force some app developers to shut down. 

Reddit’s primary revenue stream has previously been its advertising sales and premium subscriptions.

The company’s website posted in April: ‘We’re working to build a more sustainable, healthy ecosystem around data on Reddit, and continuing to roll out moderator tools for Reddit native apps.’

‘To ensure developers have the tools and information they need to continue to use Reddit safely, protect our users’ privacy and security, and adhere to local regulations, we’re making updates to the ways some can access the Reddit Data API:

‘We are introducing a new premium access point for third parties who require additional capabilities, higher usage limits, and broader usage rights[…]



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