Reddit crashed because of the growing subreddit blackout

Reddit crashed because of the growing subreddit blackout
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Reddit went through some issues for many on Monday, with the outage happening the same day as thousands of subreddits going dark to protest the site’s new API pricing terms.

According to Reddit, the blackout was responsible for the problems. “A significant number of subreddits shifting to private caused some expected stability issues, and we’ve been working on resolving the anticipated issue,” spokesperson Tim Rathschmidt tells The Verge. The company said the outage was fully resolved at 1:28PM ET.

The issues started Monday morning, with Reddit’s status page reporting a “major outage” affecting Reddit’s desktop and mobile sites and its native mobile apps. “We’re aware of problems loading content and are working to resolve the issues as quickly as possible,” the company wrote on the status page in a message at 10:58AM ET. At 11:47AM ET, the company said that “we’re observing improvements across the site and expect issue to recover for most users. We will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

While the problems were going on, for many Verge staffers, wasn’t loading, but some subreddits were. There were around 43,000 user reports of issues on Downdetector at the peak of the issues, but the reports have since fallen significantly. A site that had been tracking the number of subreddits going private on a Twitch stream also appeared to be broken as a result of the outage, but it has since returned to normal. “Count will be wrong for a while,” according to a message that had appeared on the live Twitch stream following the count. “It’s Reddit not working.”

More than 7,000 subreddits have gone private or read-only in response to the API pricing terms, which is forcing the developers of apps like Apollo for Reddit to shut down at the end of the month. (If the tracking links in my previous paragraph don’t work, try this one.) The new pricing will potentially be prohibitively expensive for developers, with Apollo for Reddit creator Christian Selig saying that he would have to pay more than $20 million per year to operate the app. Redditors are also unhappy with how the API changes could force some accessibility apps to shut down, though Reddit says that accessibility-focused apps will be granted an exception to the API pricing changes. (On Friday, RedReader and Dystopia announced they received exceptions.)

Many subreddits are going dark for 48 hours, from June 12th through June 14th, but some have chosen to stay private indefinitely until something changes at Reddit. That said, the platform seems unwilling to budge. CEO Steve Huffman held the company line during an AMA on Friday, angering many Reddit users and causing some subreddits to go private earlier than planned. I asked Reddit on Sunday if it still planned to move forward with the API pricing, and Rathschmidt said the company wasn’t planning any changes to what’s been announced.

Update June 12th, 1:37PM ET: Reddit says the issues have been resolved.


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