Just as thousands of Reddit communities went dark in protest of the company’s controversial new policy that will drive third-party applications out of business, the website went offline. The outage was caused by a premeditated protest against Reddit’s new policy, as confirmed by Reddit to TechCrunch. According to user reports, Reddit.com reportedly began experiencing issues around 10:25 AM EDT.
Reddit’s Status page initially indicated that “all systems are operational,” which included its website, even as reports began pouring in that the Reddit.com homepage would not load. The status page was then updated to reflect the outage shortly thereafter.
When the site is attempted to be loaded, the primary feed displays the message “Something went wrong. Unfortunately, we were unable to access posts for this page,” a pop-up message states. The official mobile application also fails to display content.
According to Reddit’s Status page, the company is aware of the issue with content rendering and is attempting to rectify the issue. The status page did not indicate the cause or estimated time of resolution.
Nonetheless, a Reddit representative verified that the disruption was caused by the planned protest, which resulted in a number of Reddit communities (subreddits) turning private simultaneously.
Tim Rathschmidt, a spokesperson for Reddit, stated, “A significant number of subreddits switching to private triggered some anticipated stability issues, and we’ve been working to resolve the anticipated issue.”
TechCrunch is observing a number of complaints about the outage on Twitter, including those who question if it is related to the planned protest. One user asked, “How can Reddit be down if nobody uses it?”
In one of the site’s largest protests to date, tens of thousands of subreddits were preparing to go silent on Monday. At issue is the company’s new API pricing policy, which will increase developer costs to the point where those operating third-party Reddit applications will be forced to close their enterprises. Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, aka u/spez on the internet forum site, gave a testy AMA (Ask Me Anything) last week. Despite the enormous community backlash, he elaborated on the company’s decision but did not indicate that it would reconsider. The executive also singled out the developer of one of the most popular third-party applications, Apollo, alleging poor behavior on the developer’s part, further infuriating users.
Some accessibility-focused communities were also extremely concerned about the impending closure of their favored third-party applications, as the official Reddit mobile client did not satisfy their varied requirements. Reddit has conceded on this front and announced that a small number of accessible applications would be exempt from the new API policy, which goes into effect on 1 July 2023.
Today, thousands of subreddits launched a coordinated protest against Reddit’s leadership by “going dark” — that is, they changed their forums from public to private, reducing their visibility both within Reddit and in external search engines. Reddit’s largest communities include r/aww, r/videos, r/Futurology, r/LifeHacks, r/bestof, r/gaming, r/Music, r/Pics, r/todayilearned, r/art, r/DIY, r/sports, r/mildlyinteresting, and numerous others.
Some, including the r/iPhone community, decided to prolong the protest beyond the 48-hour period and remain private “indefinitely.” This implies that the subreddit’s front page was only accessible to moderators and approved submitters. Others would only see a message informing them that the community has been set to private.
More than 5,000 subreddits had signed up to participate before the protest.
Reddit’s Status page reports at 11:47 AM EST that the site is being monitored: “We are observing site-wide enhancements and anticipate that the majority of users will be able to access the site normally once again. We’ll continue to keep a careful eye on the situation.”