Why subreddits have gone dark

If you’re browsing Reddit today, you may have already noticed that it feels a lot emptier than usual. There may even be some subreddits you can’t visit or some links from other places that lead to now private subreddits. It’s even possible that the full site is currently not working correctly for you. It’s unclear what’s causing this latter problem, but the former issue has manifested because there’s currently a big protest underway against Reddit’s corporate leadership. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

Thousands of subreddits are currently set private, Reddit down as a whole

At the time of writing, more than 6,000 subreddits are offline, taking private in protest to recent Reddit management decisions. It looks like the strike was big enough of a change to Reddit’s server infrastructure that it brought the full site down, with Reddit as a whole partially inaccessible. When visiting the homepage, it’s currently not possible to view any posts. The exact cause of the problem is unclear. One other possibility is that there might be a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack ongoing. Downdetector is making clear that this is a widespread problem in any case.

Screenshot of Reddit homepage that isn't fully loaded, with banner saying

Regardless of what causes Reddit to go down, the strike is a coordinated effort among users and moderators who want to voice their concerns about how Reddit’s leadership is handling the transition to a paid API, the interface between third-party services and Reddit’s content. Many subreddits have pledged to go private for 48 hours on June 12 and June 13 in an effort to voice their dissatisfaction. Reddit’s leadership is supposed to see just how much they need to rely on their community for a constant influx of content and thus monetization.

Among the communities that have joined the protests are big tech subreddits like r/Android, r/Apple,

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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.

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