It's been quite a day for Reddit. Thousands of communities have temporarily closed shop to protest changes the company is making to its API, which is impacting several third-party apps. On top of that, the platform suffered a "major outage" across its desktop and mobile websites, as well as the mobile apps.
"We're aware of problems loading content and are working to resolve the issues as quickly as possible," read a message on the Reddit status page as of 10:58AM ET. By 11:30AM, the site was loading again. "We're observing improvements across the site and expect issue to recover for most users. We will continue to closely monitor the situation," an update posted at 11:47AM read.
"A significant number of subreddits shifting to private caused some expected stability issues, and we’ve been working on resolving the anticipated issue," Reddit told Engadget in a statement. At 1:26PM, the company said the outage was resolved and things were back to normal, barring the protest.
Reddit said in April that it would start charging for access to its API, which third-party developers have used in thousands of apps that tie into the platform, such as moderation tools. While the primary target of the API changes may have been companies that are scraping Reddit for content to train language learning models for generative AI systems, the move has been a significant blow for those making third-party clients that many redditors prefer to the company's own website or apps.
One of the most prominent third-party clients, Apollo, is shutting down at the end of this month as a result of the API changes. The app's creator, Christian Selig, claimed that he would have to pay $20 million per year to keep operating Apollo as is. RIF, another widely used third-party Reddit app, will close on June 30th as well.
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman defended the API changes in an AMA that took place before subreddits went private in protest. He said the new policy was part of an effort to make Reddit profitable. “Reddit needs to be a self-sustaining business, and to do that, we can no longer subsidize commercial entities that require large-scale data use,” he wrote. “Some apps such as Apollo, Reddit is Fun, and Sync have decided this pricing doesn’t work for their businesses and will close before pricing goes into effect.”
Update 1:28PM ET 6/12: Noting that the outage has been resolved.