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2023 Reddit API Pricing Blackout

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Updated Jun 15, 2023 at 01:00PM EDT by Adam.

Added Jun 06, 2023 at 11:31AM EDT by Philipp.

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Reddit API Pricing Change Blackout is a controversy surrounding the change in API policy and pricing announced by Reddit in May 2023, which introduced large fees charged by the platform for requests to their API. The announced pricing change threatened the existence of third-party apps used to browse Reddit, such as Apollo and Reddit is Fun, as well as tools used by subreddit moderators to manage their communities. On June 12th, 2023, a massive blackout protest joined by over 8,000 subreddits started on the platform.


On April 18th, 2023, Reddit CTO Christopher Slowe (/u/KeyserSosa) announced an update regarding Reddit's API policy in the /r/reddit[1] subreddit, with the full revision to the policy posted on Reddit Inc.[2] The announced changes were scheduled to become effective on June 19th, 2023.

On May 31st, Reddit employee FlyingLaserTurtle posted[3] an update to the API policy, announcing that Reddit will start enforcing a 60 queries / minute limit for API (application programming interface) requests and that an "enterprise tier" fee will be introduced for large-scale third-party apps using Reddit's API (shown below), effective on July 1st, 2023.

Rate limits for the free tier All others will continue to access the Reddit Data API without cost, in accordance with our Developer Terms, at this time. Many of you already know that our stated rate limit, per this documentation, was 60 queries per minute. As of July 1, 2023, we will enforce two different rate limits for the free access tier: If you are using OAuth for authentication: 100 queries per minute per OAuth client id • If you are not using OAuth for authentication: 10 queries per minute Important note: currently, our rate limit response headers indicate counts by client id/user id combination. These headers will update to reflect this new policy based on client id only on July 1. To avoid any issues with the operation of mod bots or extensions, it's important for developers to add Oauth to their bots. If you believe your mod bot needs to exceed these updated rate limits, or will be unable to operate, please reach out here. If you haven't heard from us, assume that your app will be rate-limited, starting on July 1. If your app requires enterprise access, please contact us here, so that we can better understand your needs and discuss a path forward. Additional changes Finally, to ensure that all regulatory requirements are met in the handling of mature content, we will be limiting access to sexually explicit content for third- party apps starting on July 5, 2023, except for moderation needs. If you are curious about academic or research-focused access to the Data API, we've shared more details here.

A key policy change was the introduction of a fee for calls made to Reddit's API, with 50 million requests now costing $12,000,[4] which would primarily affect third-party apps used for browsing Reddit, including Apollo, Reddit is Fun, Narwhal and BaconReader. Additionally, Reddit would block ads in third-party apps, removing a revenue stream, and make access to sexually explicit material unavailable via the API, meaning that third-party apps would not be able to display it. Additionally, subreddit moderators voiced concerns that the closure of third-party apps would negatively impact their management of Reddit communities as they utilized said apps.

On May 31st, 2023, Christian Selig (/u/iamthatis), the developer of Apollo, a popular third-party app for browsing Reddit, made a post[4] in which he shared details about his call with Reddit regarding the new pricing. In the post, Selig stated that in the last month, Apollo made 7 billion requests to Reddit's API, which would amount to $1.7 million, or $20 million per year, describing that the announced price was unreasonable and not based in reality.

For Apollo, the average user uses 344 requests daily, or 10.6K monthly. With the proposed API pricing, the average user in Apollo would cost $2.50, which is is 20x higher than a generous estimate of what each users brings Reddit in revenue.

Selig's post earned over 159,000 upvotes in the /r/apolloapp subreddit in one week.[5] Later that day, Andrew "talklittle" Shu, the developer of Reddit is Fun, another third-party app for Reddit, wrote that the announced changes would likely kill Reddit is Fun and other similar apps.


Open Letter

On June 1st, 2023, Reddit powermod BuckRowdy posted an open letter regarding the API policy change, urging Reddit to reconsider it.

We ask for a solution that recognizes the vital role these third-party apps play and takes into consideration the negative impacts this decision might have on both users and moderators. A sustainable pricing model that encourages rather than discourages these apps' growth and innovation will only strengthen the Reddit community.

The open letter gained over 13,500 upvotes in the /r/ModCoord[6] subreddit and was signed by over 6,800 users.

June 2023 Blackout

On June 2nd, 2023, Redditor Toptomcat created /r/Save3rdPartyApps,[7] a subreddit centered around collective action to preserve third-party apps from shutting down. On that day, Toptomcat made a post[8] titled "Don't Let Reddit Kill 3rd Party Apps!" in which they proposed to hold a two-day blackout protest on June 12th and 13th to press the platform into abandoning or altering the changes. The post garnered over 48,400 upvotes in the subreddit in five days (shown below).

48.4k Posted by u/Toptomcat 4 days ago 816222 2 Don't Let Reddit Kill 3rd Party Apps! What's going on? A recent Reddit policy change threatens to kill many beloved third-party mobile apps, making a great many quality-of-life features not seen in the official mobile app permanently inaccessible to users. On May 31, 2023, Reddit announced they were raising the price to make calls to their API from being free to a level that will kill every third party app on Reddit, from Apollo to Reddit is Fun to Narwhal to BaconReader. Even if you're not a mobile user and don't use any of those apps, this is a step toward killing other ways of customizing Reddit, such as Reddit Enhancement Suite or the use of the desktop interface. This isn't only a problem on the user level: many subreddit moderators depend on tools only available outside the official app to keep their communities on-topic and spam-free. What's the plan? On June 12th, many subreddits will be going dark to protest this policy. Some will return after 48 hours: others will go away permanently unless the issue is adequately addressed, since many moderators aren't able to put in the work they do with the poor tools available through the official app. This isn't something any of us do lightly: we do what we do because we love Reddit, and we truly believe this change will make it impossible to keep doing what we love. The two-day blackout isn't the goal, and it isn't the end. Should things reach the 14th with no sign of Reddit choosing to fix what they've broken, we'll use the community and buzz we've built between then and now as a tool for further action. What can you do? 1. Complain. Message the mods of r/, who are the admins of the site: message /u/reddit: submit a support request: comment in relevant threads on r/reddit, such as this one, leave a negative review on their official iOS or Android app- and sign your username in support to this post. 2. Spread the word. Rabble-rouse on related subreddits. Meme it up, make it spicy. Bitch about it to your cat. Suggest anyone you know who moderates a subreddit join us at our sister sub at r/ModCoord- but please don't pester mods you don't know by simply spamming their modmail. 3. Boycott and spread the Reddit's competition! Stay off Reddit entirely on June 12th through the 13th- instead, take to your favorite non-Reddit platform of choice and make some noise in support! 4. Don't be a jerk. As upsetting this may be, threats, profanity and vandalism will be worse than useless in getting people on our side. Please make every effort to be as restrained, polite, reasonable and law-abiding as possible. 3.3k Comments A Award Share Save

In the following days, moderators of multiple subreddits[9][10][11] made posts in which they announced that their communities will be joining the June 12th blackout, with many subreddits threatening to stay locked indefinitely until an agreement is reached. As of June 6th, 2023, the list of participating subreddits included /r/aww, /r/gaming, /r/Music, /r/Pics and multiple other large subreddits (partial list[12] as of June 6th, 2023, shown below).

Posted by u/SubManagerBot 2 days ago 4.⁹k Incomplete and Growing List of Participating Subreddits ♡ 30+ million: r/aww r/gaming r/Music r/Pics r/todayilearned 20+ million: r/DIY r/EarthPorn r/explainlikeimfive r/LifeProTips r/videos 10+ Million r/creepy. r/Futurology. r/lifehacks r/technology. r/tifu 5+ Million r/AnimalsBeing Bros r/Animals Being Derps r/Animals BeingJerks r/askwomen r/bestof r/Contagious Laughter r/cryptocurrency. r/HumansBeingBros A

Apollo Controversy and Spez AMA

On June 8th, 2023, Christian Selig (/u/iamthatis), the developer of Apollo, announced that the app will close down on June 30th, announcing the news on Reddit[13] and Twitter[14] (post shown below). In a lengthy Reddit post, Selig stated that Reddit put "bizarre allegations of blackmailing" from Reddit, that Reddit refused to extend the amount of time until the changes take effect and addressed the claims from Reddit that Apollo is "inefficient." Additionally, Selig stated his full support for the June 12th blackout. The post gained over 210,000 upvotes in four days, becoming one of the most upvoted posts of the year.

Christian Selig @ChristianSelig Apollo will close down on June 30th. Reddit's recent decisions and actions have unfortunately made it impossible for Apollo to continue. Thank you so, so much for all the support over the years. apolloapp reddit Apollo will close down on June 30th. Reddit's recent decisions and actions have unfortunately made it impossible for Apollo to continue. Thank you so, so much for all the support over the years. Vote 0 r/apolloapp on Reddit: Apollo will close down on June 30th. Reddit's rece... Posted by u/iamthatis - No votes and no comments 1:20 PM . Jun 8, 2023 2.9M Views

On June 12th, 2023, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman (/u/spez) and a group of Reddit admins held an AMA session to address the controversy and the upcoming blackout.[15] In the AMA, Huffman doubled down on the previously announced changes. Spez also replied to a comment[18] about his accusation that Selig attempted to coerce Reddit into giving him $10 million, which some characterized as a joke.

+ r/reddit - Posted by u/spez 3 +4 2 108 2 254 R₂ 7 Addressing the community about changes to our API ● 6 3 days ago 2 Dear redditors, For those of you who don't know me, I'm Steve aka u/spez. I am one of the founders of Reddit, and I've been CEO since 2015. On Wednesday, I celebrated my 18th cake-day, which is about 17 years and 9 months longer than I thought this project would last. To be with you here today on Reddit-even in a heated moment like this-is an honor. 27 I want to talk with you today about what's happening within the community and frustration stemming from changes we are making to access our API. I spoke to a number of moderators on Wednesday and yesterday afternoon and our product and community teams have had further conversations with mods as well. ■ First, let me share the background on this topic as well as some clarifying details. On 4/18, we shared that we would update access to the API, including premium access for third parties who require additional capabilities and higher usage limits. Reddit needs to be a self-sustaining business, and to do that, we can no longer subsidize commercial entities that require large-scale data use. There's been a lot of confusion over what these changes mean, and I want to highlight what these changes mean for moderators and developers. • Terms of Service o Effective June 19, 2023, our updated Data API Terms, together with our Developer Terms, replaced the existing Data API terms. • Free Data API ● o Effective July 1, 2023, the rate limits to use the Data API free of charge are: ▪ 100 queries per minute per OAuth client id if you are using OAuth authentication and 10 queries per minute if you are not using OAuth authentication. 10 19 • Premium Enterprise API / Third-party apps o Effective July 1, 2023, the rate for apps that require higher usage limits is $0.24 per 1K API calls (less than $1.00 per user / month for a typical Reddit third-party app). • Some apps such as Apollo, Reddit is Fun, and Sync have decided this pricing doesn't work o For the other apps, we will continue talking. We acknowledge that the timeline we gave was tight; we are happy to engage with folks who want to work with us. • Mod Tools o We're working together with Pushshift to restore access for verified moderators. • Mod Bots Today, over 90% of apps fall into this category and can continue to access the Data API for free. 3 o We know many communities rely on tools like RES, ContextMod, Toolbox, etc., and these tools will continue to have free access to the Data API. o If you're creating free bots that help moderators and users (e.g. haikubot, setlistbot, etc), please continue to do so. You can contact us here if you have a bot that requires access to the Data API above the free limits. • Developer Platform is a new platform designed to let users and developers expand the Reddit experience by providing powerful features for building moderation tools, creative tools, games, and more. We are currently in a closed beta with hundreds of developers (sign up here). For those of you who have been around a while, it is the spiritual successor to both the API and Custom CSS. Explicit Content u/spez u/KeyserSosa - Steve o Effective July 5, 2023, we will limit access to mature content via our Data API as part of an ongoing effort to provide guardrails to how explicit content and communities on Reddit are discovered and viewed. • u/Go JasonWaterfalls u/Flying LaserTurtle 18 o This change will not impact any moderator bots or extensions. In our conversations with moderators and developers, we heard two areas of feedback we plan to address. Accessibility - We want everyone to be able to use Reddit. As a result, non-commercial, accessibility-focused apps and tools will continue to have free access. We're working with apps like RedReader and Dystopia and a few others to ensure they can continue to access the Data API. • Better mobile moderation - We need more efficient moderation tools, especially on mobile. They are coming. We've launched improvements to some tools recently and will continue to do so. About 3% of mod actions come from third-party apps, and we've reached out to communities who moderate almost exclusively using these apps to ensure we address their needs. Mods, I appreciate all the time you've spent with us this week, and all the time prior as well. Your feedback is invaluable. We respect when you and your communities take action to highlight the things you need, including, at times, going private. We are all responsible for ensuring Reddit provides an open accessible place for people to find community and belonging. I will be sticking around to answer questions along with other admins. We know answers are tough to find, so we're switching the default sort to Q&A mode. You can view responses from the following admins here: 32.7k Comments Award Share P.S. isn't going anywhere, and explicit content is still allowed on Reddit as long as it abides by our content policy. edit: formatting Save S :

The response drew criticism from users on Reddit and other social media, with many voicing their support for the strike (examples shown below).

28) Jordan1173 days ago Social media follows a 90-9-1 distribution: 90% are lurkers, 9% are commenters, 1% are content creators. Reddit's big enough to have an even smaller sub-0.1% that undergird this structure: the developers, mods, and power users that create cool useful tools and perform millions of dollars worth of free labor to support the site. The changes y'all have pushed the last few weeks are taking a sledgehammer to that foundation's core workflows. 14 17 3 & 27 More In a spreadsheet I'm sure that users of PushShift, third-party apps, custom bots, etc. are rounding errors and that alienating them to save money is a net gain. But users of such tools are also far more engaged with running the site than your average lurker. And turning these people against the site will do orders of magnitude more damage than whatever you eke out by recapturing some third-party app traffic. This backlash could realistically kill the site. I know you're trying to address concerns by promising to improve the official app. But frankly y'all have promised a lot of things over the years that never materialized. (Remember "Reddit is ProCSS"? Six years later there's still a ghosted-out CSS widget in New Reddit that says "Coming Soon.") The scathing exposé from the creator of Apollo certainly didn't inspire confidence in how you're approaching this. Here's an idea to rebuild trust: how about delay the new API fees for one year -or- until the official app actually has mod tool/accessibility parity with third-party offerings (whichever is later)? Over 3000 subreddits with over a billion supportive users are actively protesting this move, with many planning to go dark indefinitely. Developers who host dozens of critical bots for hundreds of major subreddits are threatening to pull the plug. Users with 10+ year histories are choosing to wipe their accounts rather than be associated with your company any more. And they're not asking for much: just to make the API affordable (not even free, unlike their labor) and to stop pulling disruptive changes like this with no community input or reasonable time to prepare. So my question: Will you step back from the brink and listen to this outcry from your core users? Or will you pull a Digg and drive the site off a cliff in myopic pursuit of short-term profit? 42.7k Reply Share andonia @andoniaistrash i have no idea if the reddit blackout will work but god is it depressing to see one after another how reddit, tumblr, discord, even this s------- all implode because having a halfway decent space to exist online is just fundamentally incompatible with corporate profit motives Kotaku @Kotaku.4h Reddit goes down as communities protest wildly unpopular changes: 11:24 AM Jun 12, 2023 692K Views T STOT

On June 12th, 2023, the blackout started with over 8,000 subreddits purportedly participating.[16] As of 4:35 p.m. EST on June 12th, the reddark_247 Twitch[17] channel (a livestream of the subreddits going private) had nearly 4,600 viewers and 7,857 out of 8,191 subreddits going dark, totaling roughly 95.92 percent of the blackout pledges.

Continued Blackout

On June 13th, 2023, The Verge[19] reported on a leaked internal memo sent by Reddit's CEO Steve "spez" Huffman to Reddit employees, in which he asked them to "block out the noise" and that the ongoing blackout will eventually pass.

As the 48-hour window initially scheduled for the blackout passed with no negotiation from Reddit,[20] over 300 subreddits, including /r/aww, /r/music and /r/videos, announced that they will remain private indefinitely until Reddit provides an "adequate solution."

As of June 15th, 2023, over 5,300 subreddits out of 8,800 subreddits participating in the blackout, remained private.[16]

/r/AdviceAnimals Controversy

On June 14th, /r/AdviceAnimals reopened as a result of a moderator named CedarWolf allegedly superseding other moderators of the sub and going directly to Reddit administrators to keep the subreddit open during the blackout. Furthermore, there is evidence that any posts questioning the decision were deleted by the moderator.

As a result, some expressed the situation potentially sets a disturbing precedent for Reddit in which pro-Reddit moderators are promoted to act in the site's best interest while moderators who are more critical and supportive of blackouts and other protests are forcibly removed from power.

Search Interest

External References

[1] Reddit – An Update Regarding Reddit’s API

[2] Reddit Inc – Data API Terms

[3] Reddit – API Update: Enterprise Level Tier for Large Scale Applications

[4] Reddit – 📣 Had a call with Reddit to discuss pricing. Bad news for third-party apps, their announced pricing is close to Twitter's pricing, and Apollo would have to pay Reddit $20 million per year to keep running as-is.

[5] Reddit – RIF dev here – Reddit's API changes will likely kill RIF and other apps, on July 1, 2023

[6] Reddit – /r/ModCoord

[7] Reddit – Don't Let Reddit Kill 3rd Party Apps!

[8] Reddit – Don't Let Reddit Kill 3rd Party Apps!

[9] Reddit – Reddit API Changes, Subreddit Blackout & Why It Matters To You

[10] Reddit – In protest of Reddit killing off 3rd-party apps, this subreddit will join others in a site-wide blackout beginning June 12

[11] Reddit – r/pics will go dark on June 12th in protest of Reddit's API changes that will kill 3rd party apps

[12] Reddit – Incomplete and Growing List of Participating Subreddits

[13] Reddit – 📣 Apollo will close down on June 30th. Reddit’s recent decisions and actions have unfortunately made it impossible for Apollo to continue. Thank you so, so much for all the support over the years. ❤️

[14] Twitter – @ChristianSelig

[15] Reddit – Addressing the community about changes to our API

[16] Reddark – Reddark

[17] Twitch – reddark_247

[18] Reddit – /r/reddit

[19] The Verge – Reddit CEO tells employees that subreddit blackout ‘will pass’

[20] Reddit – Indefinite Blackout: Next Steps, Polling Your Community, and Where We Go From Here

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Top Comments


It's incredibly depressing to see what the internet's become and I'm so goddamn tired of greedy corporate shitlords ruining it to get even richer. Hopefully this protest will work like the one two years ago did.


In case you were wondering how bad it is, the Reddit admin in contact with Apollo's main dev basically tried to lie that the Apollo dev tried to blackmail them in a call. But Apollo dev recorded the call (legally) and promptly proved that no he fucking didn't, that he made it clear during the call that it wasn't what he meant, and Reddit admin apologized in the same call for misunderstanding.

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