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Reddit CEO Steve Huffman Doubles Down on Accusations Against Developer behind Third-Party App Apollo
Unpopular API Pricing Revisions Force Third-Party Apps Out of Business
Reddit’s unpopular decision to revise its API pricing in a move that’s forcing third-party apps out of business has taken a weird turn. In an AMA hosted today by Reddit co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman, aka u/spez on the internet forum site, the exec doubled down on accusations against the developer behind the well-liked third-party app Apollo, which the company had previously accused of operating inefficiency and not being a good “API” user.
Despite community backlash, which includes a site-wide protest from thousands of communities known as subreddits, Huffman’s AMA confirmed the company has no plans to revise its coming API changes. What’s more, Huffman continued his accusations against Apollo, calling out the developer, Christian Selig’s, “behavior and communications”
“His ‘joke’ is the Least of our Issues”
In the AMA, one user asked Huffman to clarify, “what were you thinking with your attempt to discredit Apollo by claiming that Christian threatened and blackmailed you?”
The response was surprising. Unlike most companies, which try to soften their blows behind corporate PR speak, Huffman answered rather plainly.
“His ‘joke’ is the least of our issues,” the CEO wrote. “His behavior and communications with us has been all over the place—saying one thing to us while saying something completely different externally; recording and leaking a private phone call—to the point where I don’t know how we could do business with him.”
Other Third-Party Apps Closing Down
Other third-party apps are also closing down, including Sync, RIF, and Reddplant, to name a few.
Support for Selig
Other prominent developers have come out in support of Selig following this debacle.
Halide co-founder Sebastiaan de With tweeted on Thursday calling Selig “one of the nicest guys in our indie app world,” and said Reddit management was lying, slandering, and vilifying him. Others quote tweeted and agreed.
Reddit CEO Not Concerned About Fallout from Decisions
Unless Reddit’s board chooses to intervene, it doesn’t seem that Huffman is concerned much about the fallout from these decisions, site-wide protest or not.
Huffman also clarified that while The NYT piece positioned the API pricing changes as a way to limit access to its forums, which have become a training ground for large language models (LLMs), that’s not the only reason behind this move — the company is also spending “tens of millions of dollars” per year to support the third-party app ecosystem, and that needed to be reigned in. (And it’s in “active discussion” with companies using Reddit as training data for their AIs).
Overview of the AMA
An overview of the AMA in a more readable format is available on r/Save3rdPartyApps, a community that sprung up since the API changes were announced. The forum now has over 50,000 members.