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Reddit crashed during a site-wide protest against its unpopular new API policy

The website went down as thousands of Reddit communities protested the company’s controversial new policy that will kill third-party apps. Reddit told that a planned protest against its new policy caused the outage. Reddit.com started having issues at 10:25 AM EDT, according to users.

Reddit’s Status page initially showed “all systems operational,” including its website, even as reports started coming in that the homepage wouldn’t load. Following the outage, the status page was updated.

The main feed says “Something went wrong” when you load the site. “Just don’t panic,” a pop-up says. The official mobile app doesn’t load either.

Reddit Status says the company is aware of the content loading issue and is working to fix it. The status page gave no cause or resolution time.

A Reddit representative confirmed the outage was related to the planned protest, which saw several subreddits go private at once.

“A significant number of subreddits shifting to private caused some expected stability issues, and we’ve been working on the anticipated issue,” said Reddit spokesperson Tim Rathschmidt.


User reports indicate Reddit is having problems since 10:25 AM EDT. https://t.co/NEg73KPuYn RT if you’re also having problems #Redditdown

— Downdetector (@downdetector) June 12, 2023

Identified: We’re aware of problems loading content and are working to resolve the issues as quickly as possible. https://t.co/nV9P6NLQuY

— Reddit Status (@redditstatus) June 12, 2023

Twitter complaints about the outage, including those wondering if it’s related to the planned protest. “How can Reddit be down if no one’s using it?” asked one user.

On Monday, thousands of subreddits planned to go dark in the site’s largest protest. The company’s new API pricing policy will raise developer costs so much that third-party Reddit apps will have to close. Last week, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, aka u/spez on the internet forum site, explained its decision in a testy AMA (Ask Me Anything). Despite the massive community backlash, the company did not reconsider. The exec also criticized Apollo, one of the most popular third-party apps, for bad behavior, which infuriated users.

Since the official Reddit mobile client didn’t meet their diverse needs, accessibility-focused communities were worried about the shutdowns of their preferred third-party apps. Reddit conceded and exempted a few accessible apps from the new API policy, which takes effect July 1, 2023.

Today, thousands of subreddits protested Reddit leadership by “going dark,” which reduces their visibility on Reddit and search engines. r/aww, r/videos, r/Futurology, r/LifeHacks, r/bestof, r/gaming, r/Music, r/Pics, r/todayilearned, r/art, r/DIY, r/gadgets, r/sports, r/mildlyinteresting, and many others have over 10 million subscribers.

r/iPhone decided to stay private “indefinitely” after the 48-hour protest. Only moderators and approved submitters could see the subreddit’s front page. Others saw a message that the community was private.

Over 5,000 subreddits signed up to protest.

Reddit’s Status page reports monitoring at 11:47 AM ET: “We’re seeing sitewide improvements and expect most users to recover. We will closely monitor the situation.”

Reddit comment added 6/12/23, 11:31 PM ET; story updated at other times to reflect current status.

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