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Why Are Reddit Users Protesting?

Reddit will hike up prices of third-party apps.This has led to protests across Reddit, which have led to an interesting user experience.

The Reddit app, which is experiencing problems with users (Sdx15/Shutterstock)
The Reddit app, which is experiencing problems with users (Sdx15/Shutterstock)

Reddit has become a source of information and commentary for millions of users worldwide. These users can thank the moderators for everything staying under control.

However, Reddit may get a little more difficult for moderators and users in the coming weeks. Reddit has a plan to hike up the prices of third-party apps, which can hurt the experience for many people. This plan has led to protests across the platform, which have led to an interesting Reddit experience.

What are Reddit Third-Party Apps?

The Reddit App (Camilo Concha/Shutterstock)
The Reddit App. (Camilo Concha/Shutterstock)

Third-party apps serve many purposes. Overall, they are separately-downloaded apps meant to enhance a Reddit user’s viewing experience. These include Reddit Is Fun, Apollo, Infinity, and more. Many third-party apps make Reddit more accessible and customizable to its users. These apps are also beneficial to those with disabilities who need modifications in order to read and write posts. These apps are also necessary for moderators who need to create organization and order. Some of their power would be complicated with just the main app, so third-party apps can help.

The New Problem

A representation of the business of Reddit (Photo_gonza/Shutterstock)
A representation of the business of Reddit. (Photo_gonza/Shutterstock)

On July 1, Reddit is making it more expensive for third-party app owners to connect with Reddit. Their owners have to pay an expensive fee to allow their app to have a relationship with Reddit. With this plan, they will make the price so expensive that the apps will start charging the users. It is either that or an app may shut down entirely. This plan defeats their purpose of being welcome to all and being for the people.

The Reddit Shutdowns

The NBA subreddit missed out on the 2023 NBA Championship. (Bleecher Report/Youtube)
The NBA subreddit missed out on the 2023 NBA Championship. (Bleecher Report/Youtube)

To protest everything that has been happening, many subreddits decided to go private for 48 hours from June 12 to June 14. This protest means no one can access or post on that subreddit during this time. While this protest did not involve every subreddit, a lot of important ones participated. That includes the NBA subreddit, while the Nuggets won the NBA finals. The privacy of these subreddits was supposed to get Reddit’s attention and decrease some ad revenue. However, did anything change?

After 48 Hours

The shutdown being timed meant that there was no fear on the business end (Bluesnap/Shutterstock)
The shutdown being timed meant that there was no fear on the business end. (Bluesnap/Shutterstock)

Many subreddits opened once the 48 hours were up. However, when they made this known ahead of time, that did not really scare the higher-ups at Reddit. There was nothing serious happening in those cases. Therefore, there were some subreddits that decided to go next level. Many subreddits decided that they would close indefinitely, likely until they got what they wanted. That means that communities with millions of followers were going to be locked up for a long time. That is, until Reddit gets involved.

Subreddits Forced Open

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman who is responsible for this situation (G Holland/Shutterstock)
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, who is responsible for this situation. (G Holland/Shutterstock)

The protest did not go as smoothly as moderators might have hoped. Considering Reddit has all of the power and moderators are not official employees of the company, the website can wield its hammer. There has been word that Reddit is forcing communities to open up again through messaging their moderators. That is with the threat that they could replace moderators with Reddit admins. While Reddit prides itself on being for the community, the shutdown of big subreddits means that the company has to step in so that they do not have any trouble.

The New Forms of Reddit Protest

The pictures subreddit is protesting by just having pictures of John Oliver (LastWeekTonight/Youtube)
The pictures subreddit is protesting by just having pictures of John Oliver. (LastWeekTonight/Youtube)

Subreddits have found ways to protest in the open. There is the simplest way of being open while still not allowing any new posts. However, some communities have gotten creative. R/pics) is only allowing pictures of comedian John Oliver as a fun joke. Other subreddits have decided to make their community Not Safe For Work (NSFW) so that their subreddit can not provide ad revenue for the website. That has led to the tame r/interestingasfuck to become a place for pornography. While there are only a small fraction of communities taking a colorful stand, they are big and notable communities.

What’s Next for Reddit?

The original Reddit website (Stanislau Palaukou/Shutterstock)
The original Reddit website. (Stanislau Palaukou/Shutterstock)

Reddit began as a place for people from all walks of life to feel welcome. While many people needed third-party apps to improve their experience, they still appreciated the content. The supposed greediness of the website is turning many people off from using the website/app entirely. The protests can only do so much. Only time will tell how much of a serious problem this will be for Reddit as a business going forward. In the meantime, a large number of users are sharing their voices to show just how important third-party apps can be.

Written By

Rachel Rosenfield is currently a student at Brandeis University. Along with writing for Trill Mag, she is the managing editor for her school paper, The Brandeis Hoot. When she is not writing, Rachel is watching new movies, watching new TV shows, and reading new books. Rachel loves writing for Trill Mag and she is often thinking about what she will write about next.

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