As many of the blackout protests wind down on Reddit, the damage is becoming clear.
Major protests have recently taken over much of the community-driven social media platform, as moderators decided to protest against recently announced changes to Reddit’s application programming interface, or API.
Major price increases for third-party applications cast the continued existence of such programs into doubt. The creator of Apollo, one of the most popular applications, announced that its new annual operating cost of US$20 million would be impossible to maintain.
In protest, over 6600 subreddits blocked public access in June, hoping that Reddit would scrap the imminent update. Many of these communities have since come back online, and the company did not give in.
Significant drops across the board
Research from Similarweb shows that the number of Reddit visits dropped within a day of protests starting, down 7 percent on June 13 compared to a typical day earlier in the year.
During the protests the average visit duration fell by 16 percent, from eight minutes 40 seconds down to seven minutes 16 seconds. After many of the subreddits came back online this time recovered somewhat to just over eight minutes, but it still represents an overall decline of 7 percent from May.
Reddit has been suffering from a drop in popularity since before any changes to service were announced, declining on a year-over-year basis since mid-2021. In the month prior to all the uproar, traffic was already down 8.7 percent.
Creative Reddit protests with staying power
Even after most subreddits returned to business as usual within a week, some communities continued protesting by replacing their fundamental subjects with new topics.
Major image sharing subreddits r/pics, r/gifs and r/aww transformed into places exclusively dedicated to the worship of comedian and television host John Oliver, while the community page for Australia’s second largest city became full of the alligators and sandy shores of Melbourne, Florida.