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Reddit Users “Go Dark” In Protest Over How The Site Is Run

More than 7000 “subreddits” - or forums within Reddit - have gone dark as part of a widespread protest at how the content site is being run.


The main point of contention is Reddit’s proposal to charge the developers of third-party apps, which users deploy to browse the platform and its subreddits. BBC News reports: “The blackout includes 3,489 subreddits in total, including five of the 10 most popular communities on the site - r/gaming, r/aww, r/Music, r/todayilearned and r/pics - which each have memberships of more than 30 million people.”


The third-party apps, which include Apollo, Reddit is Fun, Sync and ReddPlanet, were created to help users, and Reddit’s thousands of unpaid moderators, access the Reddit content through their phones. Some of the third-party apps were launched before Reddit’s own app, which went live in 2016. The companies behind these apps are claiming that the fees proposed by Reddit could put them out of business. Apollo developer Christian Selig has told the press that the proposed fees would total around $20m (£15.9m) to keep his app running and, as a result, he will have to shut down on 30 June.


Some protesting moderators have expressed that they will keep their subreddits dark until Reddit shelves the proposals. One told the BBC: "Our entire community is supporting us against this change. It feels good to be able to have the power to say: 'We will not continue to moderate our communities if you push these changes through’. If it's almost the entire website, would they destroy what they've built up in all these communities, just to push through this highly unpopular change that both the mods and users of Reddit are overwhelmingly against?"


In a post on r/pics - a subreddit - the moderators urged Reddit to listen: “We implore Reddit to listen to its moderators, its contributors, and its everyday users; to the people whose activity has allowed the platform to exist at all: Do not sacrifice long-term viability for the sake of a short-lived illusion. Do not tacitly enable bad actors by working against your volunteers. Do not posture for your looming IPO while giving no thought to what may come afterward.”

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