The Next Steps for Reddit Protests: An Appeal to Advertisers and Holding Reddit Accountable

In recent weeks, Reddit has faced a wave of protests as volunteer moderators express their deep concerns over the platform’s conduct and lack of accessibility. The ongoing blackouts and disruptions have prompted these moderators to call upon advertisers to reconsider their collaboration with Reddit. This article delves into the issues raised by the moderators, outlines the impact of the protests, and highlights the need for advertisers to take action.

The Concerns of Volunteer Moderators:

Volunteer moderators on Reddit have voiced their dismay over recent actions taken by the platform. The primary concerns revolve around changes in API policies and the lack of accessible options. These changes, which will affect third-party infrastructure, are particularly worrisome as they impede the user experience and accessibility of the site. Moderators argue that Reddit’s failure to prioritize accessibility and provide necessary tools has created an unstable platform environment, eroding user trust.

The Power of Blackouts:

To draw attention to their dissatisfaction and demand fair treatment, inclusion in decision-making processes, and accessible tools, volunteer moderators have organized blackouts. These collective actions have had a significant impact on Reddit, leading to reduced activity across the platform. As a result, various subreddits have experienced a decline in reach, and billions of comments have become unavailable. The moderators hope that by highlighting these consequences, they can bring about meaningful change.

An Appeal to Advertisers:

Volunteer moderators are now reaching out to advertisers, urging them to reassess their collaboration with Reddit. They emphasize the need for advertisers to consider alternative platforms that align more closely with their brand values and objectives. Advertisers play a crucial role in Reddit’s ecosystem, and their support or endorsement may inadvertently contribute to practices that conflict with their brand identity. By choosing alternative platforms, advertisers can send a strong message and encourage Reddit to address the concerns raised by the volunteer moderators.

Moving Forward:

The blackouts will continue until certain demands are met, including fair pricing for third-party app developers accessing Reddit’s API, granting volunteer moderators and users a voice in decision-making, and establishing a viable, accessible path for API tools. The moderators emphasize that these decisions, coupled with recent threats by Reddit, have eroded user trust and shown a lack of commitment to accessibility. It is crucial for Reddit to listen to the concerns raised by the volunteer moderators and work collaboratively to maintain the vibrant communities that define the platform’s success.


The Reddit protests led by volunteer moderators have shed light on the issues surrounding the platform’s conduct and accessibility. As these protests continue, the moderators call upon advertisers to reconsider their collaboration with Reddit, urging them to explore alternative platforms that better align with their brand values and objectives. By joining forces, volunteer moderators and advertisers can send a powerful message to Reddit, emphasizing the importance of fair treatment, inclusion, and accessibility. The next steps for Reddit protests will determine the platform’s future and its ability to address the concerns raised by its community.

Note: The content of the letter and the images referenced in this article were sourced from publicly available materials. The inclusion of contact information for advertisers is for informational purposes only, and readers are advised to engage in respectful communication without overwhelming them with excessive messages.

Source copy pasted below in case of censorship. See the original at :

Reddit protest and the next steps

This letter is from us, the volunteer moderators of Reddit, to you: advertisers. We are writing to highlight the issues we’re facing with Reddit’s recent conduct. The ongoing blackouts and lack of accessibility are causing major disruptions, and we urge you to reconsider your collaboration with the platform.

1. We, the volunteer moderators on Reddit, are expressing deep concerns regarding recent actions taken by the platform, specifically related to changes in API policies and the lack of accessibility options.

2. Our ongoing blackouts are a collective response aimed at highlighting our dissatisfaction and demanding fair treatment, inclusion in decision-making processes, and the provision of accessible tools.

3. The impact of these blackouts is significant, with a noticeable decline in activity across Reddit, resulting in reduced reach for various subreddits and the unavailability of billions of comments.

4. We find Reddit’s inconsistent messaging, threats to remove moderators, and failure to prioritize accessibility deeply troubling, as they have eroded user trust and created an unstable platform environment.

5. As volunteer moderators, we strongly encourage advertisers to reassess their collaboration with Reddit and explore alternative platforms that better align with their brand values and objectives, taking into account the concerns we have raised.

To learn more, find our full letter below. Please do reach out if you have any questions or wish to discuss these issues further.

Full text

This is a letter on behalf of thousands of concerned volunteer moderators for Reddit. Collectively, we oversee content posted by millions of people, some of which your advertisements will have been attached to. We’d like to bring your attention to the potential implications for advertisers like yourself of Reddit’s recent conduct. As a Reddit advertiser, we imagine you’ve heard about the ongoing “blackout” protest, and we’d like to take this opportunity to inform you about our concerns—as they may be of concern to you as well.

As has been reported by news organizations such as the Associated Press, Washington Post, Forbes, and several others, the protest started over concerns about the changes to Reddit’s API policies. Such changes will lead to the discontinuation of third-party infrastructure vital to the user experience of the site. While there are many side effects of this decision—which we’d be happy to talk more about—we are most concerned about the third-party applications that were used to help people with disabilities access the website.

Reddit is not accessible in its current state. Many users—such as those who are blind, have limited mobility, or are non-neurotypical—require customizable interfaces and tools to be able to fully utilize Reddit. The company has been aware of these accessibility issues for many years and has refused to properly address them.

You may have heard about Reddit’s exemption for non-commercial accessibility-focused apps. These apps are not available to everyone and may not meet the needs of every user. Additionally, they do not contain enough moderator tools to allow moderators to properly run their subreddits. This drastically increases the possibility of non-advertiser-friendly material being hosted on the site when moderators lose access to their current tools and will force some users away from Reddit altogether. With a company as public-focused as Reddit, accessibility should be a priority. Content is user-submitted and voluntarily moderated. It should not take public outcry and negative media attention for Reddit to consider developing first-party accessibility options.

Reddit, having long deprived moderators of first-party access to essential moderation tools, has now threatened to remove moderators from subreddits continuing the blackouts. Despite stating that the company does, in fact, “respect the community’s right to protest,” Reddit has done an apparent U-turn by stating that “if a moderator team unanimously decides to stop moderating, [Reddit administrators] will invite new, active moderators to keep these spaces open and accessible to users”. Reddit CEO Steve Huffman has gone so far as to suggest rule changes that would allow moderators to be voted out. This is in stark contrast to Reddit’s previous statements that they won’t force protesting communities to reopen and that moderators are “free to run their communities as they choose.”

This inconsistent messaging from Reddit is frustrating. Volunteer moderators are the lifeblood of Reddit’s communities. We keep user-generated clean, safe, and accessible, which I’m sure is a top priority for advertisers like yourself. Reddit employees do not keep Reddit advertiser-friendly; moderators do. However, we cannot continue to do so without these tools and a bare minimum level of cooperation from Reddit. Our dedication shapes the platform’s success. It is crucial for Reddit to listen to our concerns and work with us to maintain the vibrant communities that make Reddit what it is. Until our voices are heard, and our demands met, we will continue our blackouts — without fear of any threat.

The blackouts are having a major effect on Reddit. I’ve attached two images detailing this clearly. The first image, with a file name of r_all_blackout, shows a plot of comments and submissions on rall from the previous 7 days in a solid line and the seven days before that in a dashed line. During the blackout, the number of subreddits reaching rall dropped by 2.2%; however, the overall submissions and comments dropped by 20%. The second image is an infographic, with the file name blackout_summary, which shows that during the blackout, an estimated 7.4 billion comments from 77 million authors were unavailable.

It’s been published that Reddit is allowing advertisers who bought space on subreddits participating in the blackout to now advertise on the front page. With so many of the major subreddits participating in the blackout, users do not stay on the front page and engage with content in the normal way. While traffic to the front page may be increased, users are being served broken links and protest content rather than the unique content they expect. At the peak of the protest, over 8,000 subreddits (including rfunny, rgaming, rmusic, and rscience each of which boast more than 30 million subscribers) were in blackout; new statements from the company make it increasingly likely that further protest will happen in various forms.

Blackouts will continue until third-party app developers are charged fair prices for accessing Reddit’s API, volunteer moderators and users are given a voice in these key decisions, and there exists a workable, viable, accessible path to access API tools.

Ultimately, these decisions along with recent threats by Reddit have eroded user trust, shown significant platform instability, and established that accessibility is not a priority. Continuing to work with Reddit may imply support or endorsement of practices that conflict with your brand identity. We strongly encourage you to reconsider your collaboration and, if appropriate, explore alternative platforms that more closely align with your brand’s values and objectives.

Please do reach out if you have any questions or wish to discuss these issues further.

If you happen to feel strongly about this event, advertisers are able to be contacted through publicly available emails or publicly available social media, but we are not advocating to harass or bombard them with an overwhelming number of messages.