They have around 500 million users between them, but two of the biggest ‘social media’ companies on the internet seem intent on infuriating their own users.
Reddit has faced prolonged strike action for the past fortnight or so, with volunteer moderators and users protesting against huge price hikes to the company’s API which have today forced several popular Reddit apps to close.
Twitter, meanwhile, is barring people who aren’t logged into the service from seeing content posted on the social network and is blocking previews of tweets appearing in apps such as Slack or WhatsApp.
Two of social media’s biggest players have turned distinctly anti-social.
Reddit refused to change its pricing despite the pleas of Reddit’s moderators. Reddit third-party apps like Apollo, Sync, and Bacon are now closed. The new API pricing will be effective on July 1, 2018.
Apollo is no longer an app, but only a shell that contains an ad to a Goodbye Apollo desktop wallpaper.
Apollo developer Christian Selig, who’s had an increasingly antagonisitc relationship with the Reddit team in recent weeks, suggested the company didn’t even let the app die gracefully.
“Well, looks like Reddit pulled the plug a little early,” Selig wrote in a tweet last night. “Apollo started crashing, but I just manually revoked my token and it looks like it fixes the crashing, but no more Reddit access haha. Those folks are fun to the very end!”
Reddit is continuing to take an equally hard line with moderators who’ve taken their communities private in protest at the API changes, effectively removing those communities from public view. Reddit has reportedly written to the moderators of some of the most popular communities that remain private, warning them that “this community remaining closed to its [millions of] members cannot continue” and is threatening to remove their moderator status.
With a large number of protests continuing to rumble on across the site, the challenge for Reddit may prove to be finding volunteer moderators willing to step into the striking moderators’ roles.
Twitter is continuing to attack anyone and everything it feels denies it revenue.
Visitors attempting to read a tweet via the Twitter website, who aren’t logged into a Twitter account, are now being met with an unhelpful error message.
What’s more, it seems previews are no longer visible when sharing links to tweets in apps such as WhatsApp or Slack, meaning all users see is the naked URL, forcing them to click through to the Twitter site to read the tweet’s content (assuming they’re registered users and logged in, of course).
Tim Sweeney is the boss of Epic Games. He has attacked the actions taken by social media. “The internet feels increasingly broken,” he tweeted.
“News sites are paywalled or account walled, Reddit is nag walled, Google search spams ads and SEO to the point of uselessness, and now Twitter is account walled. Web browsing feels horrible now.”
That prompted a response from Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who tweeted: “Several hundred organizations (maybe more) were scraping Twitter data extremely aggressively, to the point where it was affecting the real user experience. What are we going to do? I’m open to ideas.”
Sweeney told Musk to limit scraping and sue those companies who abuse the service, to which Musk replied that Twitter will “take legal action against those who stole our data & look forward seeing them in court, which is (optimistically) 2 to 3 years from now.”
Social media barons are not showing any signs of a softerening in their aggressive attitude.