Reddit experienced significant technical difficulties on Monday, coinciding with a major protest by thousands of subreddits against the website’s newly introduced API pricing terms.
The blackout was pinpointed as the cause of these disruptions by Reddit. Tim Rathschmidt, a spokesperson for the company, informed The Verge that the move of a large volume of subreddits to private status led to the expected stability problems. The company confirmed that by 1:28PM ET, the issue had been fully resolved.
The problems commenced on Monday morning, with Reddit’s status page acknowledging a “major outage” impacting both the desktop and mobile versions of the site, as well as its native mobile apps. At 10:58AM ET, the company posted on the status page, stating, “We’re aware of problems loading content and are working to resolve the issues as quickly as possible.” By 11:47AM ET, the company reported that they were seeing improvements and expected most users to regain access soon, promising to keep a close eye on the situation.
During this time, many users, including Verge staff members, struggled to load Reddit.com, although some subreddits were still accessible. At the peak of the problem, approximately 43,000 user reports of issues were logged on Downdetector, but this number has since dramatically decreased. An outage also affected a website live-streaming the number of subreddits going private on Twitch, but it has since regained normal functionality. A message posted on the Twitch stream clarified that the count would be inaccurate for some time due to “Reddit not working.”
In protest against the API pricing terms, more than 7,000 subreddits have opted to go private or switch to read-only mode. This decision is forcing developers of apps like Apollo for Reddit to close down by month’s end. The new pricing could become unaffordable for developers, with Christian Selig, the creator of Apollo for Reddit, estimating an annual cost of over $20 million to maintain the app under the new conditions. Reddit users are also concerned about how these API changes may lead to the closure of certain accessibility apps. Reddit has stated, however, that exceptions to the API pricing changes will be granted for apps focused on accessibility.
Many subreddits are choosing to go dark for 48 hours, from June 12th to June 14th, although some have decided to remain private indefinitely until Reddit changes its stance. However, the company appears to be steadfast, with CEO Steve Huffman reiterating the company’s position during an AMA session on Friday, which incited further frustration among Reddit users and led some subreddits to go private ahead of schedule. When queried on Sunday about the possibility of reconsidering the API pricing, Rathschmidt stated there were no plans to modify the announced changes.
As of the update on June 12th at 1:37PM ET, Reddit reported that the issues had been resolved.