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Android subreddits go offline in protest of Reddit API

Reddit is one of the most useful websites on the planet for getting information from a large group of actual people, which makes various subreddits key to the internet as a whole. Now, as the result of protests over Reddit’s upcoming API changes, some of the most useful subreddits for Android have “gone dark.”

On July 1, Reddit will impose hefty fees on developers for the use of its API. This change is quite literally killing off many third-party Reddit clients, which are dying not because the API is coming with a cost, but because that cost is being implemented with a very very small window of time to make needed changes. The price is also very high, drastically more so than other platforms.

The added fees effectively eliminate free users, while also making existing paid users a financial burden on developers. The developer of Apollo, the most popular third-party Reddit client on iOS, says the new API would cost as much as $20 million per year. The added costs have also killed off some of Android’s best Reddit clients in Reddit is Fun (RIF) and Sync.

The death of these third-party clients doesn’t just come down to preference either. In many cases, these clients are far more advanced in terms of features compared to Reddit’s official offerings, especially when it comes to community moderation which – despite being handled almost entirely by unpaid volunteers – is a key part of how the website operates.

For those reasons, Reddit communities (known as “subreddits”) have been going offline today. The full list of affected communities totals over 6,000, including many of the site’s largest subreddits. The 48-hour shutdown (or indefinite, in some cases) is meant to call on Reddit to reverse its API changes for the sake of moderation. It’s certainly an effective call, as pulling down many of these subreddits will lessen how many people are using Reddit, as well as pulling valuable information from the web, albeit only temporarily.

In the Android space, a few affected major subreddits include:

These communities are set to come back after 48 hours, but it’s certainly an impact that could be felt. For over two million, r/Android serves as a hub for news, while r/AndroidAuto and r/GooglePixel are invaluable sources for talking with a community to troubleshoot problems.

Update 6/13: As Reddit continues to double down on the changes that will kill third-party apps, r/Android and r/GooglePixel will remain “dark” for the time being. In a statement shared by the moderators of r/Android it’s explained that the subreddits will remain private through June 20 at 8pm ET, and the same is true of r/GooglePixel and r/AndroidApps

r/Android will be extending our blackout, and will be private until June 21st, 2023 UTC / June 20th, 2023 20:00 EDT / June 20th, 2023 17:00 PDT. r/Android has not ruled out an indefinite blackout, but also is not opposed to joining the indefinite blackout. r/Android will continue to monitor the situation and is prepared to continue to extend our blackout if the situation does not show positive improvements. This is not the first time Reddit has shown a continued lapse in judgement, and communication, for volunteers who do their work essentially for free. Reddit is a community that thrives off community itself.

We sympathize with those who want to see the subreddit. We’ve gotten many requests to open back up, but truth of the matter is, is that Reddit is just a secondary community. For those upset, we encourage you to listen and understand why we’re protesting. Secondly, to the sites that contribute a plethora of content to the subreddit, we thank you.

We stand with communities like r/blind who need third party apps for accessibility and developers whose hard work has provided essential tools that the official app lacks for moderation. If the mod team is forcibly replaced, then Reddit admins will have shown their true colors.”

We encourage the readers to visit other content creators on the internet, and we hope to see you when Reddit is back.

Reddit has, so far, shown absolutely no desire to reverse its API decision, with an AMA session with Reddit’s CEO on Friday only doubling down on the incoming changes and showing no remorse for the dying third-party clients.

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