Reddit CEO Steve Huffman has noted that the social media forum was never designed to support third-party applications.
This comes soon after the CEO reportedly attempted to placate employees by saying that the Reddit blackout “will pass”.
Huffman’s statements have arrived in the midst of the ongoing Reddit blackout that has seen thousands of communities on the site go dark.
What does Reddit going dark mean? Basically, subreddits are being temporarily set to private mode and no one other than moderators can access them.
This is being done mainly in protest against the company’s decision to start charging third-party developers for access to its data starting in July 2023.
Many users access the site via 3rd party Reddit-based apps which often have more features than the official one.
But lot of developers simply can’t afford to pay the rates Reddit intends to charge for API calls. For example, the developer behind the wildly popular Reddit-based application called Apollo, says it will cost $20 million a year to keep the app running.
According to Huffman, a lot of third-party apps aren’t adding much value to the platform.
“So the vast majority of the uses of the API – not (third-party apps like Apollo for Reddit) – the other 98 per cent of them, make tools, bots, enhancements to Reddit. That’s what the API is for,” Reddit CEO said in a statement.
“It was never designed to support third-party apps.”
Huffman further objected to the third-party apps that are competing with Reddit.
“I didn’t know – and this is my fault – the extent that they were profiting off of our API. That these were not charities.”
When questioned about if he genuinely believes that the blackouts haven’t impacted his decision-making around the API pricing changes at all.
“That’s our business decision, and we’re not undoing that business decision,” Huffman replied.
As per a fact sheet shared by the company, there are now more than 1,00,000 “active communities”, 57 million “daily active uniques” and over 50,000 “daily active moderators” on the platform.
Last week, Huffman hosted an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session to discuss the platform’s controversial API changes.
He confirmed that the company is not planning to walk back its coming API pricing changes that have caused multiple developers to announce that they will be shutting down their apps.
Given that Reddit is prepping for an IPO later this year, it makes sense for the company to cut loose anything that’s preventing it from being as profitable as possible.
And not being paid for the services that its API needs to function is clearly not working out for Reddit if it’s willing to risk losing users over this blackout.