The popular online forum Reddit experienced outages hours after thousands of Reddit communities launched a protest against its policy to charge third-party apps for data access.
“A significant number of subreddits shifting to private caused some expected stability issues, and we’ve been working on resolving the anticipated issue,” Reddit said in a statement to NBC News.
During an outage Monday morning, the website’s front page showed empty Reddit posts with the message: “Something went wrong. Just don’t panic.” Users were unable to load posts on it until the platform resumed working again.
The #RedditBlackout hashtag started trending on Twitter after the blackout began, with more than 4,238 tweets associated with the term as of Monday. Reddit was trending with more than 112,000 searches on the social media platform. Twitter users as early as 9 a.m. noticed that Reddit was experiencing technical issues. One user’s tweet about the Reddit outage received more than 80,000 views within an hour. “Nice to see even Reddit itself getting in on the Reddit Blackout today,” the user wrote.
Although the website resumed functioning almost two hours after the early reports of an outage, a coalition of Reddit moderators and users continue to engage in a standoff with the company Monday and Tuesday.
More than 7,808 unique subreddits planned to participate in the blackout starting Monday, with the largest being r/funny, a community with more than 40 million users, according to an index by r/ModCoord. Around 7,260 subreddits are private as of Monday afternoon, according to a real-time stream of the protest on Twitch.
Reddit communities are going dark in response to the company’s intent to charge third-party developers to access its application programming interface (API). Reddit announced it would update its API terms in April.
The third-party app Apollo said it intends to shut June 30, after its creator, Christian Selig, said in a Reddit post that new terms would cost him “over $20 million per year.” He said Reddit would charge developers $12,000 for 50 million API requests.
Reddit’s API pricing changes follow a similar move by Twitter in March to start charging developers for access to its API. The social media platform said it would scrap free access to Twitter API in February.