Reddit CEO Steve Huffman. Credit: Horacio Villalobos / Getty Images.

In a series of interviews, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman has acknowledged an ongoing Reddit blackout has caused a “fair amount of trouble,” but has no plans to walk back the site’s controversial changes to pricing.

Earlier in the week, thousands of Reddit’s largest subreddits — including gaming communities r/PS5, r/Terraria, /rEscapeFromTarkov and r/Gaming— switched to an inaccessible private mode as part of an organised blackout.

The blackout is in response to a proposed price hike for Reddit’s Application Programming Interface, back-end data that third-party mobile apps and custom extensions rely on, along with tools for accessibility and moderation.

Though the price hikes aren’t set to kick in until July 1, they have already led to Reddit’s two largest third-party apps, Reddit Is Fun and Apollo, announcing their closure.

In a recent interview with NPR, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman dismissed the resulting protests as “a small group that’s very upset,” and acknowledged that moving third-party users to Reddit’s official app would offer “significant” benefits to the company’s profits.

Reddit app. Credit: SOPA Images / Getty Images.
Reddit app. Credit: SOPA Images / Getty Images.

The CEO also claimed that “everyday users” are being affected by the blackouts more than his company. That being said, many subreddits have continued ongoing Reddit’s blackout — by Huffman’s own admission, 20 per cent of Reddit’s largest subreddits remain in private mode, days after the 48-hour protest was meant to end on June 14.

Additionally, Adweek has reported that advertisers are putting Reddit-based ad campaigns on hold during the protest, which has caused “slightly lower impression delivery” and “slightly higher” costs in relation to engagement.

Speaking to NBC, Huffman suggested the protests were being carried out against the will of Reddit’s users, and compared the site’s volunteer moderators to the “landed gentry” who should be more “accountable to [their] constituents”.

In response to Huffman’s media interviews, Reddit moderators participating in the blackout have criticised the company’s “poor communication”.

“The blowback that is happening now is largely because Reddit launched this drastic change with only 30 days notice,” reads this statement. “We continue to ask Reddit to place these changes on pause and explore a real path forward that strikes a balance that is best for the widest range of Reddit users.”

Currently, Reddit is yet to announce any changes that would result in Apollo or Reddit Is Fun remaining open.

In other gaming news, Riot Games has confirmed that Team Deathmatch is launching in Valorant this month.

The post Reddit CEO compares volunteer moderators to “gentry” as blackout continues appeared first on NME.


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