On Monday, thousands of Reddit communities will make themselves inaccessible in protest of the site’s management practices. Reddit has recently implemented controversial charges for developers of third-party apps, which are commonly used to browse the social media platform. As a result, moderators of some of the largest subreddits have decided to make their communities private for 48 hours to express their dissatisfaction.
The protest will impact nearly 3,500 subreddits, which are essentially forums within the Reddit platform where users gather to discuss specific interests. Rather than following individual users as on other platforms, Reddit users, known as Redditors, join various subreddits and see posts from these communities in their feeds.
Unlike other social media sites, Reddit heavily relies on community moderation. In addition to a small number of paid administrators, the website depends on tens of thousands of unpaid moderators, referred to as mods, who dedicate their time to keep the platform functional. These mods invest several hours each day ensuring that their subreddits remain free from off-topic comments, banned content, and even illegal material.
The advantage of this approach is that Reddit does not charge hosting fees for individuals who wish to create their own communities based on their interests. However, in a recent post on Friday, Reddit’s CEO Steve Huffman acknowledged the need for the platform to become a self-sustaining business and addressed the blackout.
“We understand and respect when you and your communities take action to emphasize your needs, even if it means going private,” he stated. “We all have a responsibility to ensure that Reddit continues to provide an open and accessible space for people to find community and a sense of belonging.”
Huffman additionally confirmed that the site would retain explicit content but clarified that Reddit would restrict access to it through third-party apps.