During an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman addressed the recent API changes that have caused significant backlash among users of popular third-party Reddit apps, leading some of them to announce their impending shutdown. While Huffman acknowledged the need for improvements to Reddit’s own app, he showed little willingness to make concessions on pricing and other contentious issues that have frustrated the community.
Huffman emphasized the necessity for Reddit to operate as a self-sustaining business, stating, “We can no longer subsidize commercial entities that rely on extensive data usage.” Consequently, several apps, such as Apollo, Reddit is Fun, and Sync, have determined that the new pricing model is unsustainable for their businesses and have decided to shut down before the pricing changes take effect.
Although Huffman recognized certain missteps in the API rollout, his responses to questions regarding the company’s handling of its relationship with third-party developers largely avoided addressing more complex concerns. While he admitted that the 30-day timeline for implementing the new API was tight, he assured users that Reddit was in ongoing discussions with many developers who still wished to collaborate.
However, other developers expressed frustration, as they had received no response from the company despite reaching out through the designated channels promoted by Reddit. One developer lamented, “I have been trying to contact Reddit over the last 3 months and have been completely ignored. I feel completely powerless to do anything right now and I want to try and save the app I’ve been working on for the last 10 years.” In response, Huffman apologized and pledged that the company would address their concerns.
When questioned about the company’s accusation that Christian Selig, the developer of Apollo, had threatened Reddit—a claim Selig promptly refuted with an audio clip of a phone call with a Reddit representative—Huffman stood by the criticism. He asserted, “His ‘joke’ is the least of our issues. His behavior and communications with us have been inconsistent—he says one thing to us while conveying something completely different. I don’t see how we could conduct business with him.” (Huffman did not respond to Selig’s subsequent request for examples of such behavior.)
Huffman, known as “spez” on the platform, also assured users that Reddit was actively working on enhancing its own app, particularly in terms of moderation tools and accessibility features. These areas are frequently cited by Redditors who prefer third-party apps over the native Reddit app. He attributed the decision to disallow sexually explicit content on third-party apps to a shifting “regulatory environment” and legal concerns, adding, “It’s an ongoing battle to manage this content at all. We have to be cautious and conservative about where it appears.”
One of Huffman’s notable responses came when confronted with the perception that “Reddit has become increasingly profit-driven and less focused on community engagement” compared to its earlier days. Huffman retorted, “We’ll continue to prioritize profit until we become profitable. Unlike some third-party apps, we are not currently making a profit.”
Significantly, there were several topics that Huffman chose not to address, including the reasoning behind the perceived exorbitant pricing of the API. He also did not acknowledge the upcoming subreddit blackout, in which thousands of subreddits plan to go offline for two days starting on June 12th to protest the API changes.
By the conclusion of the AMA, Huffman had responded to 14 questions, while a few other executives provided limited answers. Notably, their responses received substantial downvotes within the AMA thread, rendering them difficult to view. In response to this feedback, a moderator later compiled all of their answers and provided a consolidated link at the top of the thread, acknowledging the challenges in locating the responses.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Reddit API changes
Q: What are the API changes that Reddit CEO Steve Huffman addressed?
A: The API changes referred to alterations made to Reddit’s application programming interface, which impacted third-party apps used to access Reddit’s platform. These changes have been a topic of controversy and led to some apps announcing their closure.
Q: Did Steve Huffman address the concerns raised by the community?
A: Steve Huffman, during the Ask Me Anything session, acknowledged some missteps in the API rollout but did not fully address all the concerns raised by the community. While he discussed improvements to Reddit’s own app, he seemed reluctant to make concessions on issues such as pricing and developer relations.
Q: Why did some third-party apps decide to shut down?
A: Some third-party apps, including popular ones like Apollo, Reddit is Fun, and Sync, found the new pricing structure imposed by Reddit unsustainable for their businesses. Consequently, they made the decision to shut down their apps before the new pricing policy took effect.
Q: How did Reddit handle communication with third-party developers?
A: Some developers expressed frustration with Reddit’s lack of response to their attempts at communication. While Steve Huffman acknowledged the issue and promised a response, some developers claimed they had been ignored for several months despite reaching out through the designated channels promoted by Reddit.
Q: What improvements did Steve Huffman mention for Reddit’s own app?
A: Steve Huffman mentioned that Reddit was actively working on enhancing its own app, particularly in terms of moderation tools and accessibility features. These areas have been commonly cited by users who prefer third-party apps over Reddit’s native app.
Q: Why will third-party apps no longer be able to show sexually explicit content?
A: According to Huffman, the decision to disallow sexually explicit content on third-party apps is a result of a changing regulatory environment and legal concerns. He cited the need to be cautious and conservative about where such content appears due to the ongoing battle to manage and regulate it.
Q: Did Huffman address the subreddit blackout planned by thousands of subreddits?
A: The text does not mention Huffman addressing the subreddit blackout organized by thousands of subreddits.