Guest post by Szymon Paroszkiewicz, more info: https://linktr.ee/simonmaker
Reddit, while perhaps not the primary social media platform for the average European, indeed stands as one of the most influential sites on a global scale. With well over 400 million monthly active users, the platform’s user base continues to expand. It serves as a significant repository of high-quality, moderated content, setting itself apart from other social media platforms.
Despite generating revenue through advertising, Reddit’s financial earnings, which are reported to be in the hundreds of millions, are dwarfed when compared to behemoths like Facebook and Twitter, which report their earnings in the billions. This dichotomy presents a unique challenge: Reddit is simultaneously invaluable to its user community and operates at a loss for its proprietors.
In a move to improve the platform’s financial health and future-proof its business model, Reddit decided to introduce fees for its API usage. A noteworthy aspect of this decision is the implication it has for AI training. Reddit’s extensive and diverse content makes it a rich source of data for training AI models. The newly introduced charges mean that if AI wants to learn from Reddit’s data, it will have to pay for access.
Reddit’s new terms for its API, announced in April, present a significant shift from the previously free access to its data that enabled a flourishing community of third-party tools. The new rules, which are set to take effect on July 1, impose a fee on third-party app developers needing high usage limits, specifically $0.24 for every 1,000 API calls.
This policy change has not gone without controversy, sparking protests from the Reddit community. Over 8,000 subreddits have gone dark in protest, and popular third-party Reddit apps, including Apollo, Narwhal, Reddit is Fun, and Sync, plan to shut down their services on June 30, on the eve of the new rules’ implementation.
In the grand scheme, the decision to charge for API access marks a pivotal moment in Reddit’s history. It reflects the platform’s pursuit of profitability and foreshadows a future where access to large-scale, high-quality data comes at a cost—a cost that will be integral in shaping the future of AI training and data-driven technologies.
In short: if AI wants to learn from Reddit’s data, it will have to pay for it.