Reddit has announced a change to its API access, which will see the platform now charge big businesses for their use of Reddit data, under a new ‘Premium’ usage tier.
Reddit has provided API access since 2016, with various platforms and providers using this an access point to gather data from Reddit conversations. More recently, that data has also been used to power the generative AI models behind Google’s Bard and OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which Reddit is now looking to address.
As per Reddit:
“When we first launched our Reddit Data API over seven years ago, the goal was to enable developers to build great products for users and mods, powered by Reddit, and that hasn’t changed. Since then, we’ve seen thousands of applications over the years, such as tools to make moderation easier, and utilities that help users stay up to date on their favorite topics. Our Data API also provides third parties (like academics, researchers, and social listening tools) with access to data, and as a platform with one of the largest corpus of human-to-human conversations online, spanning the past 18 years, we have an obligation to our communities to be stewards of this content.”
Essentially, with generative AI tools set to make big bucks, Reddit wants its fair share, which is why it’s now looking to charge these higher-end developers for expanded access to Reddit conversation data.
That’s also the reason why Twitter recently updated its pricing for its own API access, as OpenAI, and other platforms, have been using tweet info to power their models. Generative AI models need to develop an understanding of human language, and what people mean when they communicate, and social platform data is a key ingredient in this respect.
And with Reddit and Twitter providing that insight, it makes sense that they now also want their fair share.
For context, OpenAI is now valued at around $29 billion, a more than 100% increase on its 2021 price.
Twitter chief Elon Musk has his own grievances on this front, with Musk being an initial investor in OpenAI when it was operating as a research-based non-profit. Musk invested $100 million in OpenAI back in 2017, and took up a management role at the company, before leaving in 2018 due to conflicts over Tesla staff and the future direction of its development.
But now, Musk is angry that OpenAI essentially took his ‘donation’, and has since switched to a for-profit business - which is part of the reason why Twitter’s looking to restrict OpenAI’s access, while Musk has also hinted at possible legal action against the company to recoup his investment.
For Reddit, charging some developers for expanded access to conversation data is another potential revenue pathway. And with the company also planning its IPO, it could be a valuable supplementary income stream, depending on how many take it up.
In addition to this, Reddit’s also rolling out some new tools for moderators to assist in managing their subreddit communities.
“In the coming months, you will see updates and improvements to:
- Mod log - to give context into a community member's history within a subreddit, and display mod actions taken on a member, as well as on their posts and comments.
- Rule management - to set expectations for their community members and visiting redditors. With updates, moderators will be able to update community rules via native apps and rearrange the order in which they appear.
- Additional mod queues - to give moderators a view of filtered versions of their mod queue content, including a view that shows all removed content as well as reported and edited content. Currently moderators can only view one main queue and can’t see removal reasons.”
Reddit needs to keep its army of mostly volunteer moderators happy, especially given that they too could raise questions about the company bringing in more money, and not passing that onto them.
As such, providing more mod tools seems like a logical compromise, and these new tools will provide more ways for mods to manage their in-app communities.
You can read more about Reddit’s API pricing update here.