Friday, June 9, 2023

Protest against Reddit API Changes and killing 3rd party APIs: Jun 12-14. Call today at 10:30AM PST

This may sound like a politicized post, but there is madness behind reason here: for a while there has been many third party applications used by Reddit users to post (include posting with a modicum of privacy (hey, we talk a lot about that here!) as sometimes said posts can be career-ending ones) and keep track of topics of interest. Even the moderators make use of such tools to keep spam down. All of these tools were possible using the API provided for free by Reddit. Many of these tools are open source, offered for free.

Fast forward to now, and Reddit is aiming for an IPO this year. Also, it has decided to start charging for the use of its API starting June 30. There are some who will claim the two events are related. This is expected to cause most of these 3rd party apps to be killed and force users to rely on the official app which is not know for its interface or features, besides its privacy issues.

As a result,

  • More than 3000 communities (subreddits) will go dark from Jun 12 to Jun 14 in protest to this decision, including many that are associated with IT in general and cybersecurity specifically. Some of them will shut down permanently.
  • There is a thread where you can get the most recently developments.
  • People are flocking to Reddit alternatives including Mastodon, beehaw, and Discord.

Reddit said its CEO will be hosting a "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) event today at 10:30AM PST to talk about their plans regarding the API.

Is there another reason?

Well, what if Reddit realized the people behind large language models -- OpenAI, Google, etc -- are making money by scraping their website to get data for their AI models (since it is still a hot topic, here is the obligatory mention of ChatPT), and now Reddit wants to get a piece of the action?