Reddit has found itself in hot water with countless moderators who are outraged by its recent move to impose exorbitant API fees, effectively pricing out third-party apps. In response to this controversial decision, thousands of subreddits went dark for a minimum of 48 hours starting on June 12. Instead of addressing the concerns raised by moderators, Reddit retaliated by suspending participants.
In a recent report from The Verge, it was revealed that Reddit had initiated a crackdown on moderator teams that had designated their communities as Not Safe For Work (NSFW). This was the universal tactic during the 'blackout' to make their respective communities private.
This decision to enable the explicit content filter comes with certain consequences, such as imposing age restrictions for desktop users and limiting access on the mobile app exclusively to logged-in users. However, the most significant impact is blocking Reddit's ability to run ads, which hampers monetization.
One of the biggest subreddits that switched on this filter was r/mildlyinteresting, which boasts 22.2 million subscribers. Shortly after, the mod team of the popular subreddit was suspended, and when questioned about this development, Reddit spokesperson Tim Rathschmidt shared the following response:
Moderators incorrectly marking a community as NSFW is a violation of both our Content Policy and Moderator Code of Conduct.
But here's the twist: the entire mod team of r/mildlyinteresting was eventually reinstated, but not by the same Reddit admin who initially removed them. When Rathschmidt was approached for a comment on the reinstatement, here's what he had to say:
I’m not going to set a precedent of confirming with The Verge every action we do or don’t take to ensure users can access their communities.
While the mod teams of r/mildlyinteresting have been reinstated, it's unfortunate that subreddits like r/interestingasfuck, r/TIHI, and r/ShittyLifeProTip are still without their mod teams. It seems that Reddit is employing various tactics to intimidate subreddit mods and force them into submission.
In fact, just last week, moderators received threatening messages from Reddit, coercing them to reopen their subreddits.
If there are mods here who are willing to work towards reopening this community, we are willing to work with you to process a Top Mod Removal request or reorder the mod team to achieve this goal if mods higher up the list are hindering reopening. We would handle this request and any retaliation attempts here in this modmail chain immediately.
Our goal is to work with the existing mod team to find a path forward and make sure your subreddit is made available for the community which makes its home here. If you are not able or willing to reopen and maintain the community, please let us know.
Even in the face of widespread criticism from Redditors and moderators, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman has remained unwavering in his support for the new pricing model, which will result in the closure of popular third-party apps like Apollo and Reddit is Fun before the month's end.