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    Reddit’s CEO lashes out at protests, moderators and third-party apps

    Reddit CEO Steve Huffman is not backing down amid protests over API changes made by the platform. In interviews with The edge, NBCNewsAnd NPRHuffman defended the company’s business decisions to charge third-party apps, saying API was not designed to support these customers.

    The Reddit co-founder also talked about protesting moderators, changing site rules, and profitability in these interviews. The platform is facing some of the strongest backlash from the community, but the CEO doesn’t seem to want to budge.

    What’s Happening on Reddit?

    In April, Reddit announced that it would start charging for its API, but did not disclose a price. Earlier this month, Christian Selig, the developer of Apollo, a popular Reddit client for iOS, posted a call to Reddit. The API prices they quoted could cost him $20 million a year to use the app. Selig later said that because the social network is not ready to make changes to its pricing structure, he has been forced to shut down Apollo. Other third-party customer developers like Reddit is Fun and Relay for Reddit also said they will shut down their apps on June 30.

    The only exception Reddit made was to allow free access to the API to non-commercial apps that provide accessibility features. The company has struck deals with apps like RedReader, Dystopia, and Luna, giving them exemptions from “big-scale pricing terms.”

    Thousands of subreddits went out on June 12 to protest those changes — it also caused a brief outage. Meanwhile, Huffman took a strong stand in his AMA, taking a closer look at Apollo and Selig. Since moderators saw nothing change, many subreddits decided to extend the blackout.

    Protests and moderators

    In one of the interviews, Huffman even called protesting moderators “landed gentry.”

    “If you are a politician or an entrepreneur, you are accountable to your constituents. So a politician has to be elected and an entrepreneur can be fired by his shareholders,” he said.

    “And I think on Reddit the analogy is closer to the landed gentry: the people who get there first get to stay there and pass it down to their descendants, and that’s not democratic.”

    He added that he plans to make changes to moderator policies so that users can vote them down. Currently, a higher moderator – or the company – can start moderators. Incidentally, a moderator posted ar/Apple on Twitter (via 9to5Mac) that Reddit threatened to remove moderators who organize an indefinite blackout.

    In a blog post published by Reddit, the company links to its Moderator Code of Conduct while saying, “Dissent, debates, and discussions are fundamental parts of Reddit” and respects the right to protest. However, the rules state that the company can remove moderators if they don’t cooperate.

    Despite these statements, Huffman said Reddit would not invest in paid moderators within the company or make decisions that centralize power.

    That indicates that the company is happy that unpaid moderators monitor and maintain the communities. a study estimates published last year that they spend 466 hours a day maintaining these communities. It said that if Reddit paid them $20 an hour, it would cost them $3.4 million a year.

    Third-party apps

    A major focus during these protests was the existence of third-party apps. Time and time again, Reddit has said it will still provide access to the data API for free — and most apps, like bots, don’t have to pay because they aren’t commercialized.

    In recent weeks, Huffman has spoken about commercializing and making Reddit profitable. One of the steps of this process is to charge the API. In the latest batch of interviews, he said Reddit is “perfectly willing to work with the people who want to work with us” and talked about giving developers a longer transition period. Huffman’s complaint is that some of these apps make millions each year using Reddit’s data, and the company has to bear infrastructure costs of up to $10 million a year, he said. The edge.

    He told the publication that he was the person within the company responsible for this policy change affecting these apps. Apparently, the company has been discussing changes in API rules for years.

    “[Reddit’s API] was never designed to support third-party apps. We let it exist. And I should take the blame for that because I was the man who advocated for that for a long time. But I didn’t know – and that’s my fault – how much they benefited from our API. That these weren’t charities,” Huffman said.

    The numbers game

    On Thursday, Reddit posted a blog post indicating that 80% of the top 5,000 communities in terms of daily active users are now open. said Huffman NPR that protesters are a “small group that are very upset” and that the “greater Reddit community” is joining in to support them.

    He added that while these protests caused “a fair amount of trouble,” there was no significant effect on the company’s revenues. However, reports suggested that some advertisers had paused campaigns during the blackout. The company has started to push more advertising tools attract advertisers.

    On the impact of shutting down third-party apps, Huffman said that 97% of people use the Reddit site or official app to access the platform — the company has a daily active user base of 57 million. The blog post also mentioned that 93% of moderator actions are done through Reddit’s own tools and that the company has promised to add more features to it. Huffman’s post and comments attempt to indicate that protests are led by only a small group of users and do not represent the feelings of a larger user base.

    While there are rumors of Reddit going public, the CEO is focusing on profitability first. He told The Verge that an IPO is “something we’d like to do someday,” but that there are “a few things I’d like to do with Reddit before we get there.”

    In response to Huffman’s comments, moderators are trying to find ways to make blackouts effective. Alternative, some communities are also setting up servers on alternative sites such as Lemmie And Kin.

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