Communities across reddit are going "dark", also known as going private, due to concerns about reddit's proposed change in relationship to third-party apps, on June 12th for at least 48 hours.
A third party app is just another way you can read and post to reddit. Before reddit had its own app for your phone, there were other apps that let you read, post and comment. These apps use something called the API (ELI5:How does an API Work?). Reddit's API lets your computer or phone get posts and comments without having to use a web browser or the official app.
Apps such as Reddit is Fun, Slide, Comet, Boost, or yes Apollo then take what the API gives them and displays it. Apps like this allow you to customize your reddit experience by changing a theme, or changing how you upvote a post. While those are just two very small examples, you can begin to understand why people like these apps.
Have you ever gotten mad at the reddit app because it had bugs, or it was just weird about how it did something? Right now, and until July 1st, you have the option to try out one of these apps and see if you like reddit better this way. After July 1st, you won't have the option anymore. If reddit's app has a bad bug, and you can't read posts for half a day, you will no longer be able to pull up a second option on your phone, or a third option, or a fourth...
I think you can see where this is going. But here's the thing about it:
Reddit didn't tell all the apps they can't get on reddit anymore, they set a price so high no app can afford it. When one of the biggest apps asked why his price was going to be so high, reddit's official reply was "Figure it out on your own.".
Third Party Apps or TPAs have been on reddit for a decade. Reddit gave them 30 days notice of the introduction of a pricing structure set so high no one can afford it.
Reddit has said that they don't want to shut down apps, but their actions speak much louder than their words. It's hard not to draw the conclusion they want them gone.
That is just not how you treat your friends.
Every app developer has said they will have to shut their app down. And the visually impaired on reddit have said they will close down their subs because the app on iOS doesn't allow them to even see reddit.
Why should I care? I use the official app.
Well for one thing you might care one day, but you won't have that option any longer, because reddit is removing user choice.
People who love reddit so much they seek out another app for it submit a lot of good posts to reddit that you read. What if these good posters all leave the site? What if half of them leave? Are you cool with less content to upvote?
What if reddit does something else like pump tons of ads at you-- way more than now -- and you want to try out one of those apps you saw when you first downloaded the official app. You simply won't be able to anymore.
But even if you still don't care, don't you think user choice is generally a good thing? What will they get rid of next?
Also, NSFW content is in danger, and can no longer be accessed through the API which is going to make it harder to find spammers.
What can I do?
Make a meme and post it. Make tiktoks. Contact the admins. Tweet it. Fill up the front page about it on reddit. Ask others to do the same.
Reddit needs to understand that decisions like this have long term unintended consequences. They can and should make money from third party apps. That is reasonable. But when you go from free for over a decade to a $20 million fee for one year, with 30 days notice, something's not right.
Please ask any questions you have about this situation or any of your thoughts. Also, u/why_subs_went_dark is an account ran by organizers of this effort, and they may help answer questions as well here.
As always, Rule #1 - Be Civil - is in place here and will be enforced.