Reddit is a social media app which is catered to a different demographic. It has been one of the oldest social media apps even before social media was even a thing, it has a user base of 52 million users with millions of active users daily, and there are millions of subreddits which act as communities for people to post and interact on their interests. The Reddit API was always free, a lot of developers had used the API to make it more user-friendly to their users. The Reddit official app has its fair share of troubles, the major one being it’s not very accessible to a lot of users. Third-party apps have succeeded in catering to the neglected user base like those that are visually challenged.
Apollo, the most popular version of the unofficial Reddit, announced that they were going to terminate their services on June 30. Reddit has released a statement that they were no longer going to let their API be free and they would put a price on it. The price amounted to $0.24 per 1000 calls. In layman's terms, every action on the third-party app would constitute one API call, one upvote would equate to one API call, and one search would equate to one API call. Judging by an average individual’s activity on Apollo, each user would activity would cost up to $2 a month. And Apollo has 10 Million active users, this would roughly cost $20 million for Apollo, Based on the latest Apollo post where the developer had spoken to the Reddit team, they make enough to just stay afloat. It is the similar number for a lot of other apps.
A lot of users posed their questions to the developer and he answered them all on the r/Apollo subreddit. The developer made this decision as he didn’t want to deal with the issue to overcharge the preexisting users. It would be a suicidal decision to do so. The developer didn’t desire to sell it off either as he didn’t want it to change under corporatization.
This move no doubt has caused a backlash. A lot of major subreddits are going dark on June 12 to protest this decision. And others are following suit. It is highly unlikely Reddit will take back this decision.
I have been a longtime user of Reddit and I too didn’t welcome this change. Reddit was a community-driven platform and the moderators were all volunteers and unpaid. The moderators are what made this space a habitable place for its users. It was a community-driven platform and now the new route they have taken feels like it's corporatizing itself. The social media is basically being carried on the backs of volunteer labour that are all doing it because they love it.
A lot of moderators have come forward saying they will no longer volunteer for this new Reddit. The role of moderators cannot be underestimated as they are an extension of Reddit. It is their actions which make it a good space. The absence of moderators would lead to rampant spam and unsuitable content all over the website. This is definitely bad press for Reddit. I personally feel we can witness it turn into Tumblr. We all know Tumblr. Got spammed with 18+ posts and all the advertisers immediately pulled away from it.
I do not know what other changes can be seen in these new directions but one thing I can say is this new direction will lead Reddit to its demise and it will be another hyper-restricted space where its users cannot be themselves.