Reddit CEO Stands Firm Amidst Protests: ‘It’s Time We Grow Up’


The CEO of Reddit, Steve Huffman, has spoken out, stating that the widespread protests on the platform have not altered the company’s decision to implement charges for data. This announcement comes despite the tumult the decision sparked across the platform, resulting in thousands of discussion groups turning ‘dark.’

In his first interview since nearly 9,000 subreddits coordinated a 48-hour blackout, Huffman told NPR, “It’s a small group that’s very upset, and there’s no way around that. We made a business decision that upset them.” He suggested that the larger Reddit community simply desires to interact with fellow community members.

The blackout ensued on Monday when Reddit’s volunteer moderators made thousands of discussion groups private, preventing access. Some groups have even extended the blackout. The unified opposition rallied under the banner “Don’t Let Reddit Kill 3rd Party Apps!”

Huffman emphasized that the protest, though causing a “fair amount of trouble,” did not result in significant financial loss for the company. He views the protestors as a small, vociferous group out of touch with the broader Reddit community.

Reddit, used daily by 57 million people to discuss diverse topics, announced in April new fees for third-party access to its data. The recent detailing of these costs has led to a significant outcry among third-party app developers.

Huffman has extended an olive branch to third-party developers open to ‘productive conversations,’ though negotiations with popular apps like Apollo and Reddit is Fun have broken down. Reddit’s CEO assured, “For folks who want to have productive conversations with us, we’re here and we’re having those conversations.”

Apollo is an app made in Halifax and its founder, Christian Selig, said Reddit’s new API pricing would cost his company $20 million annually, something he said is not economically feasible. Therefore, Apollo will shut down at the end of this month.

Huffman also defended Reddit’s decision, stating that the company had been subsidizing others for free for too long. He pointed out that services like Microsoft-backed ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, which harvest vast amounts of conversation data, provide little in return. He proclaimed, “Reddit represents one of the largest datasets of just human beings talking about interesting things. We are not in the business of giving that away for free.”

Despite ongoing protests, Huffman reiterated that Reddit is resolute in its decision. He stated, “We’re 18 years old. I think it’s time we grow up and behave like an adult company.”

In a separate interview with The Verge, Huffman reiterated Reddit was never designed to support third-party apps, while noting over 80% of the top 5,000 subreddits by daily active users, were back online.

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