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Reddit revolution; When thousands of subreddits come together for change

These protests were supposed to continue for 48 hours until the end of Wednesday, June 14, and by now many private subreddits have returned to normal; But if you go to the page right now reddark Take a look at Twitch, which shows the number of privatized subreddits at a moment’s notice, of the 8,829 communities that announced their decision to join the protests, about 4,000 subreddits are still private; Even though Reddit is Threat The moderators of the subreddits are back to normal and have said that if they don’t open access to their forum, they will be replaced by another moderator.

Many of the subreddits that joined the 48-hour protests have tens of millions of members, and even people who don’t use these forums were affected by the fact that the entire Reddit website was down for several hours during the protests.

If you were one of the people who visited Reddit on Monday with the message “There is a problem; Don’t rush!” or “Excuse me; We could not load the posts of this page” you are facing, it is because of this story. According to Reddit, the website was unavailable because a large number of subreddits decided to go private at the same time, and this caused some technical problems for the entire platform; The problems, of course, were fixed after three hours, but the multi-million subreddits are still private and until Reddit changes its new API policy, access to the community will be limited to a few verified members.

If you’re curious to know which subreddits have joined the protest movement, you can visit the r/ModCoord subreddit and see a list of forums with over 500,000 members. Thread 1 Go and take a look at the list of forums under 500,000 members from there. It might be interesting for you to know that iPhone and Samsung subreddits were also privatized for 48 hours as a sign of protest.

Why are subreddits protesting?

Planning for protests started two weeks ago; When the developers of some of the very popular side applications of Reddit, including Apollo, said that they could not afford to pay the new fees for using the platform’s API, and that is why their applications are set to expire on June 30 (July 9), that is, a day before End the flow of new policies forever.

Thousands of subreddits have agreed to go private for 48 hours from June 12th to June 14th, according to a r/Save3rdPartyApps pinned post created to protest the monetization of Reddit’s API, with some subreddits saying they will wait until Reddit changes its policy. If the pricing is not created, they will not stop protesting and being private.

For example, a user named r/Toptomcat wrote below this post:

Some subreddits didn’t even wait until Monday. For example, r/TIHI with more than one million members and r/polls with more than 100,000 members protested on Friday (June 9), shortly after the announcement of new Reddit policies, which faced widespread criticism, and users’ access to They limited their association.

While many subreddits decided to go private, others, including r/NintendoSwitch, r/Frugal, and r/StarWars, chose to prevent new posts from being created during the protest. The r/DankMemes subreddit also decided to remain public, but only allow content related to Reddit’s new policies to be posted there.

Christian Selig, the developer of the popular app Apollo, whose post about Reddit’s API pricing sparked initial outrage, said it was “amazing” that the Reddit community came together to fight API monetization. In a post on the Apollo subreddit, he wrote:

What are the consequences of making the Reddit API monetized?

According to Reddit’s new pricing policy, starting next month (July 1/10), all developers who have been using the platform’s API and extensive data for free, from large companies such as OpenAI, the creator of the ChatGPT chatbot, to small startups, will have to pay exorbitant fees. do $0.24 per thousand API requests or less than $1 per user per month.

The creator of the Apollo application, which is considered the best alternative user interface for Reddit among redditors, said that with this policy, it has to pay more than 20 million dollars a year for using the Reddit API, and with these costs, the continuation of this application is practically “impossible”. ” has been

But it’s not just Apollo; The applications rif is fun for Reddit, ReddPlanet and Sync have also announced that they will end their activities along with Apollo on June 30.

The developer of rif is fun for Reddit wrote in a message on his subreddit that “in response to the IPA changes of Reddit and the aggressive behavior of this platform towards developers” he has decided to end the activity of this application. He said:

ReddPlanet developer also wrote:

Sync developer also wrote:

Of course, this problem is not limited to developers and users; Many subreddit administrators also use tools made by other developers to manage forums and remove spam posts and illegal and nasty content, and removing these applications will cause new problems for moderators.

Of course, Reddit has been generous and has exempted apps that are created to meet “accessibility needs” from paying; For example, the application RedReader, which has many blind users, or Dystopia, on the condition that it remains free and focuses on helping disabled and blind people, are exempted from paying for the use of the Reddit API.

Why has Reddit paid to use its API?

One of the reasons Reddit cites for monetizing its API is productive artificial intelligence.

Reddit has long been a hot forum for discussion on the Internet. About 57 million people visit the website every day to chat about a variety of topics, from video games and movies and series to hot technology discussions and sharing stunning pictures and cooking tutorials from morning to night.

In the last few years, the massive collection of these conversations has become a free educational tool for companies like Google, OpenAI, and Microsoft. These companies use user conversations in various Reddit forums to train large language models used in their artificial intelligence systems; Systems that many people in Silicon Valley believe will define the future of the technology industry.

Now Reddit wants these companies to pay to use the platform’s massive data. About three months ago, Reddit announced plans to charge all companies that used the platform’s API for free to train their AI systems.

Steve Hoffmanthe founder and CEO of Reddit an interview said:

With this stance, Reddit was the first major social network to decide to charge companies such as OpenAI for access to content produced on the platform. Artificial intelligence systems like ChatGPT will one day become big businesses, and most likely won’t help companies like Reddit much in that way, and maybe even knock the platform out of the game by copying Reddit’s data.

The problem here is that chatbots like Bard, Bing Chat and ChatGPT are based on generative artificial intelligence (Generative AI) and these models are trained with the help of internet data, some of which are taken from social networks. Other companies, like Reddit, have realized the value of the data and images they host on their platform. For example, image hosting service Shutterstock sells its images to OpenAI for the development of DALL-E, a tool that converts text into images using generative artificial intelligence.

Regarding the value of Reddit data for AI chatbots, Hoffman said:

But the issue is not only language models. Reddit insists that a fee must be paid to support third-party applications. The company has been looking for ways to increase revenue for some time; including retrenchment, stopping the hiring process and the desire to offer the company’s shares to the public.

While Reddit has focused its API monetization on AI and tech giants, third-party app developers have also been included in the new pricing.

Some believe that these changes are the death knell for side apps that Reddit has sounded on purpose; Just as Twitter increased its API fees in February of this year, it practically killed all the side apps of this platform.

What are the developers of Reddit side apps saying?

Christian Selig He did not intend to become a face for a revolution at all; All this Canadian developer wanted was to be able to keep his app alive. But his side app for Reddit, called Apollo, has now become the centerpiece of a full-scale war with the platform.


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