Reddit seizes major subreddit that protested API changes

Reddit has taken over a significant subreddit that participated in the mass protest against the platform’s API fees, The Verge reports.

Control of r/malefashionadvice, which has over 5.4 million subscribers, has been shifted to the official Reddit admin account u/ModCodeofConduct, who has reopened the subreddit.

The admin account has also called on subreddit members to volunteer to take over as moderators.

The Verge spoke to one of the former mods of the subreddit, who confirmed Reddit had removed their privileges on Thursday.

The mods of the subreddit had encouraged their users to switch to Discord and Substack.

They were warned by u/ModCodeofConduct that they would be replaced if the subreddit was not made public again.

The subreddit was among thousands that went dark in mid-June to oppose the API rules, which made it exorbitantly expensive for numerous third-party apps to connect to Reddit’s post feed and functions.

Before the changes, Reddit provided unrestricted access to the API. It argues that this cost it millions of dollars in infrastructure to maintain.

However, Reddit’s fees are well above those of similar platforms.

Reddit is charging developers $0.24 per 1,000 API calls, working out to $12,000 per 50 million.

Even at half the rate, a fee proposed by Apollo founder Christian Selig, Reddit’s API pricing would be 36× as expensive as Imgur.

Despite strong opposition, Reddit went through with the changes at the start of July, leading to the shutdown of third-party apps like Apollo and Reddit is Fun.

Reddit uses Code of Conduct as justification for takeovers

Reddit regards public communities that have been made private “abandoned” and has repeatedly claimed that it has simply been enforcing the moderator Code of Conduct by taking over the subreddits.

“This is not new because of the protests,” the platform told Engadget.

To bypass Reddit’s use of the Code of Conduct, numerous other subreddits have started posting adult-only content.

In addition to preventing the subreddits from qualifying as being “abandoned”, it stops Reddit from monetising the communities with ads.

At the height of the API protest, nearly 9,000 communities switched to private.

According to a Twitch channel that live-tracks the number of communities still protesting, 1,951 were still dark at the time of publication.

That compares with 2,210 public communities that were private on 3 July 2023.


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Reddit seizes major subreddit that protested API changes