Here is why Reddit is having a subreddit blackout explained -- it involves a coordinated protest against a cost change to the Reddit API.

Why Reddit Is Having a Subreddit Blackout Explained

If you’ve gone on Reddit today, whether through the website, Reddit’s own app, or some third-party app, you might have noticed something a little different. Many of the site’s subreddits are marked private, meaning that you can’t read them. So what’s this all about and why is it happening? I’ll explain why Reddit is currently having a subreddit blackout.

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Why the Subreddit Blackout Happened at Reddit

Over 6,000 subreddits are currently participating in a blackout. It doesn’t matter whether you’re logged in or not — when you try to visit that subreddit, you’ll get a message stating, for example, /r/maliciouscompliance is a private community.

Here is why Reddit is having a subreddit blackout explained -- it involves a coordinated protest against a cost change to the Reddit API.

You’ll have the option to message the mods or request to join, but there’s really no point. Those subreddits have deliberately been made inaccessible and will remain so from June 12 to June 14. There’s nothing you can do to read the subreddit (or post in it) till then.

The subreddit blackout is a coordinated protest, with each subreddit being made private by their respective mods / owners. It’s in protest against Reddit’s decision to charge third parties to access Reddit’s API.

What does that mean? Basically, right now, anyone can make their own app to browse Reddit. Don’t like Reddit’s own app? There are others out there: Boost, Infinity, and more. They work by accessing the Reddit API (API stands for “application programming interface”).

However, Reddit is set to start charging as of July 1. So, one of two things will happen to those apps — either they’ll pay Reddit, or they’ll stop working. The developer of one app, Apollo, has stated he’d have to pay Reddit $20M a year, which isn’t a particularly feasible option. Other developers have said they’ll have to shutter their apps if Reddit goes ahead.

Will this change Reddit’s mind? Reddit may be a community, but like Twitter, there’s a corporate entity behind it. (Twitter did something similar with its API.) We’ll just have to wait and see if the subreddit blackout ultimately makes a difference. In the meantime, you’ll have to live without those privated / blacked-out subreddits.

And that’s why Reddit is having a subreddit blackout explained.


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Chris McMullen
Chris McMullen is a freelance contributor at The Escapist and has been with the site since 2020. He returned to writing about games following several career changes, with his most recent stint lasting five-plus years. He hopes that, through his writing work, he settles the karmic debt he incurred by persuading his parents to buy a Mega CD. Outside of The Escapist, Chris covers news and more for GameSpew. He's also been published at such sites as VG247, Space, and more. His tastes run to horror, the post-apocalyptic, and beyond, though he'll tackle most things that aren't exclusively sports-based. At Escapist, he's covered such games as Infinite Craft, Lies of P, Starfield, and numerous other major titles.