For a second there I was worried we’d have nothing to write about this week.
TL;DR on the protest: Reddit announced an API pricing change, popular third-party apps that rely on the API to function were outraged at the exorbitant fees, moderators across the site organized a two-day blackout that began today to communicate their anger and frustration over the change. Not all subreddits are participating and many support subs in particular have chosen to remain open, moderators of several mental health subs felt it was important their users have a place to talk if needed. Suppose r/accounting fits right in there next to communities built around anxiety, ADHD, and healing from trauma.
The Reddit API has been incredibly valuable to AI companies as a source for training LLMs, the change would mean these companies have to enter into a separate agreement with the site to continue accessing this data via the API ($$$). Up until now AI has been able to feast on Reddit content with the API acting like an almost unlimited firehose of data, some of which is generated by actual humans (there’s a huge bot problem on Reddit so really the bots are learning a lot from other bots). “The Reddit corpus of data is really valuable,” said Reddit CEO Steve Huffman to NYT when the change was announced in April. “But we don’t need to give all of that value to some of the largest companies in the world for free.”
See also: https://save3rdpartyapps.com/