Reddit protest evolves — moderators turn subreddits into adult-only communities to block ads

Reddit moderators protesting the platform’s plan to implement high API fees for third-party apps have started switching their subreddits to not safe for work (NSFW), disabling the platform’s ability to present ads on these communities.

The Verge reports that several large subreddits with millions of users — including r/MildlyInteresting, r/interestingasf**k, r/TIHI (Thanks I Hate It), and r/videos — switched to NSFW despite initially not allowing adult-only content.

NSFW subreddits have some limitations that don’t apply to non-NSFW communities.

Firstly, these subreddits don’t feature ads, reducing Reddit’s ability to monetise some of its most popular subreddits.

Secondly, visitors to these subreddits must confirm that they are 18 years old before being able to view its content.

On mobile devices, NSFW subreddits can only be viewed via the official Reddit app and not the mobile browser or third-party apps like Apollo.

The Verge also found several other subreddits had relaxed their rules, resulting in users posting “inappropriate” content without the subreddits being labelled NSFW.

Reddit subsequently suspended some of the moderators behind the subreddits that had switched to NSFW.

The entire mod team from r/MildlyInteresting was removed from their positions, with one being slapped with a 7-day Reddit suspension by a Reddit admin.

A Reddit spokesperson told The Verge that moderators “incorrectly” marking a community as NSFW violated Reddit’s content policy and moderator code of conduct.

All of the moderators of r/MildlyInteresting had since had their moderator status reinstated by a different Reddit admin.

The mod who received the 7-day ban has also had his suspension lifted.

However, the r/interestingasf**k, r/TIHI (Thanks, I Hate It), and r/Sh***yLifeProTips subreddits remained unmoderated.

The spokesperson declined to confirm whether Reddit was responsible for removing the mods.

The latest development comes after several reports that Reddit was looking into ways to get rid of moderators that have committed to continue their protest until Reddit changes its tune on the new API fees.

A Twitch channel that tracks the number of subreddits still protesting showed that over 3,100 previously public communities were private and restricted.

The initial two-day protest last week saw over 8,800 subreddits going dark.

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Reddit protest evolves — moderators turn subreddits into adult-only communities to block ads