Reddit, the popular social media platform, has been rocked by ongoing protests from moderators who are unhappy with proposed API changes that will cause third-party apps to shut down. To show their displeasure, thousands of moderators set their communities to private. The CEO of Reddit, Steve Huffman, has argued that not all users support the protests, comparing moderators to the “landed gentry” and saying that they are eclipsing the desires of the platform’s everyday users. In response, two of Reddit’s largest subreddits, r/pics and r/gifs, have reopened but only allow posts about comedian and Last Week Tonight host John Oliver.

John Oliver Takes Over Two Huge Subreddits

Following a poll of users, r/pics and r/gifs have changed their rules. The two options offered were to return to normal or to only allow pictures or GIFs (respectively) featuring John Oliver. The results were conclusive: r/pics chose to return to normal, while r/gifs opted for only featuring GIFs of John Oliver. Both subreddits now feature content about the comedian, with the top post in the “hot” tab on r/pics being a picture of Oliver flipping the double bird next to an image of Huffman. On r/gifs, the top post is a GIF of Oliver hitting a table and saying “go fuck yourself” next to an image of the Reddit logo.

Oliver himself has encouraged the subreddits on Twitter, even posting several ridiculous pictures to kick off a thread. A spokesperson for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver did not respond to a request for comment.

The subreddits’ actions are part of ongoing protests by moderators, with more than 4,000 subreddits remaining dark. Some subreddits are reopening under duress, with Reddit sending messages to some moderators offering to help process a Top Mod Removal request “if mods higher up the list are hindering reopening.” A mod for r/Apple said they reopened the community because they were afraid it would otherwise be forcibly reopened.

Moderators have voiced their concerns about Reddit’s “threatening behaviour,” saying that volunteer moderators are the lifeblood of Reddit’s communities. They argue that it is crucial for Reddit to listen to their concerns and work with them to maintain the vibrant communities that make Reddit what it is. They have vowed to continue their blackouts until their demands are met.

The protests have highlighted the importance of volunteer moderators and their role in maintaining Reddit’s communities. It remains to be seen whether Reddit will address their concerns and work to maintain the vibrant communities that make the platform what it is.


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