Reddit says some accessibility apps won’t have to pay for its API

The concession won’t help the majority of Reddit developers.

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Reddit is changing its controversial new API policy for the makers of some apps that are focused on accessibility, provided they don’t monetize their services. As The Verge reports, Reddit has decided to offer the developers of select “non-commercial” apps that emphasize accessibility features an exemption from its controversial new pricing structure.

“We’ve connected with select developers of non-commercial apps that address accessibility needs and offered them exemptions from our large-scale pricing terms,” Reddit spokesperson Tim Rathschmidt said in a statement. He declined to name any specific services or share how many apps might be covered by the new exemption, citing ongoing conversations with developers.

The concession comes amid growing anger with Reddit over the planned changes, which many developers say will put them out of business. Last week, Christian Selig, the developer of Apollo, said the new pricing would cost him $20 million a year to keep the app running in its current state. Other developers have voiced similar concerns about the changes, currently slated to take effect July 1st.

As The Verge points out, the API changes have also sparked widespread concern among Reddit users who depend on services that make it easier to use the site with screen readers and other accessibility aids. Earlier this week, the moderators of r/Blind said they were planning to join the upcoming Reddit blackout in protest of the changes. The effort, which more than 1,000 subreddits have signed onto, will see participating communities “go dark” for 48 hours.

While the latest change from Reddit could bring some relief to the members of r/Blind and others who depend on apps specifically tailored to their needs, the rule change won’t help the majority of third-party app developers. Apps like Apollo, RIF and BaconReader are monetized and thus don’t qualify for an exemption even though some also offer robust accessibility features. Unless Reddit makes further concessions, those developers are still facing the possibility that they will be forced to shut down, or drastically alter, their services.