Protest Against API Charges Levied by Reddit Takes a Bizarre Turn: Multiple Subreddits Become Shrines to John Oliver

Protest Against API Charges Levied by Reddit Takes a Bizarre Turn: Multiple Subreddits Become Shrines to John Oliver
Image: TechCrunch

Reddit announced some changes in policies regarding the activities of third-party apps on Reddit. Among other things the company started charging third-party apps for accessing the API – $12,000 for 50 million requests. APIs allow app owners to connect their software to Reddit in a way that users can access reddit through the apps. Apollo, developed by Christian Selig, was one such app that allowed users to browse Reddit. Selig was the first one to disclose the financial burden put by Reddit on app owners and announced that he’d be shutting down his app.

Last week, multiple apps went dark in protest of the new policies established by Reddit. Since the protests have affected no change, some major subreddits have decided to take things up by a notch in a rather bizarre fashion. 

The moderators of r/pics shared a message to the subreddit asking its membership base of 30 million to decide the future of the community under the circumstances. The moderators posed two options – return to normal operations or post pictures of John Oliver, the British Comedian exclusively. By the end of the poll the idea of posting John Oliver pictures was upvoted 37,331 times. So now, rule 1 of posting in the subreddit r/pics goes “All posts must be images of John Oliver looking sexy.” 

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The moderators of r/gifs and r/aww followed suit by starting similar polls. The voting pattern was pretty much the same. Consequently, three of the largest subreddits are actively becoming shrines to John Oliver. Oliver himself has welcomed this form of protest and shared a thread of pictures that users can post. 

Reddit’s CEO Steve Huffman does not see much merit in these protests. He thinks the protests are by a “small group” that is very upset. Furthermore, he alleged that moderators are playing god and stopping users from connecting with their communities. “Huffman compared Reddit moderators to landed gentry.” He’s even considering the possibility of allowing ordinary users to vote out moderators, a right afforded only to high-ranking moderators and Reddit employees. 

About the author


Sruti Chowdhury

Sruti is a storyteller for all trades. She loves to write about everything -- from sci-fi movies to cyber security. She is a phenomenal singer, an ardent reader, and dreams to travel the world.

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