Amid protests, Reddit suffers BIG blow to website engagement, active users | Tech News

Amid protests, Reddit suffers BIG blow to website engagement, active users

A new report has revealed that Reddit protests significantly decreased the website traffic and user engagement for the platform.

| Updated on: Jun 29 2023, 18:11 IST
Reddit protests were held to oppose the new API changes by the company. (REUTERS)
Reddit protests were held to oppose the new API changes by the company. (REUTERS)

All through June, we have witnessed a unique battle between a social media platform and its users to determine its policies. Reddit announced earlier this year its new API pricing change that was introduced in order to stave off AI platforms using the website's data to train its models. However, one consequence of it was seen on third-party apps that suddenly had to pay an extremely high price to request data from Reddit. That turned out to be a big pain point between the admins of the platform and the community, which resulted in protests and Reddit witnessed a big hit to its website traffic and active users as a result of it.

It all began when Apollo, a third-party Reddit platform for iOS, made a post announcing that it will be shutting down operations on June 30 as it will have to pay around 20 million dollars for the API requests a year, a significantly higher amount than the total revenue the app brings. The news shocked the community and as more third-party apps such as Rif is Fun and Naharwal also announced they were shutting shop, many subreddit moderators decided to go ‘dark' by taking the subreddits private.

The protest was scheduled for 48 hours starting June 12. As soon as the protest began, Reddit suffered a massive outage briefly. This was the first bump that brought down its daily traffic by 7 percent and the amount of time people spent on the platform by 16 percent, indicated the data from Similarweb that was shared by TechCrunch. The drop continued all through June 12 and 13, which was the period of the protest. But this was just the beginning.

Reddit suffers a hit to its website traffic

The report highlighted that during the 2-day protest, the time spent on the website dropped from 8 minutes 40 seconds to 7 minutes 16 seconds. Overall web traffic also went down from the usual 56 million to 52 million.

While some of the major subreddits have since gone back to normal, many continue to protest indefinitely. Some of the returning subreddits planned a further protest by allowing NSFW (Not safe for work) content on the subreddit. NSFW content is sexually explicit, violent, or otherwise sensitive content that is only meant for people above a certain age.

The reason behind allowing the NSFW label was that Reddit does not show advertisements on these subreddits, due to the connotation associated with the type of content. As a result, between June 13 and 23, the average daily visits on Reddit's ad portal reduced by 20 percent (from 16009 to 12874), according to the TechCrunch report.

Reddit retaliated by suspending the moderators that turned the label on, although they were soon reinstated, presumably once the moderators agreed to turn off the NSFW label.

Now, with just one more day before Reddit implements the new API changes on July 1, things are still in flux. Moderators and community members are preparing for the eventual closing of the third-party apps and there is a chance that further protests might be staged by the community.

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First Published Date: 29 Jun, 18:11 IST