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Reddit to charge AI companies for use of its API

ByTeam BB

Apr 20, 2023


Reddit is planning to charge tech companies for the use of its application programming interface.

Through the method, outside entities have the ability to download and process the social network’s conversations, including tech giants using them in the development of artificial intelligence tech like large language models.

“The Reddit corpus of data is really valuable,” Reddit co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman told The New York Times Tuesday. “But we don’t need to give all of that value to some of the largest companies in the world for free.”

As of right now, the pricing is uncertain, and the company told the paper it would announce fees in the coming weeks.

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Reddit Inc. co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman during a hearing with the House Communications and Technology and House Commerce subcommittees on Capitol Hill Oct. 16, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Google’s Bard AI service is partially trained on data drawn from Reddit conversations spanning from 2007 to 2016, and the OpenAI chatbot ChatGPT also cites the use of Reddit data.

Reddit believes its data is particularly valuable due to how frequently it is updated, but Huffman said “crawling Reddit” and “generating value” not returned to its users is “something [they] have a problem with.” 

The CEO believes tightening things up is “fair.”

The API will still be free to developers who want to build applications that aid people in using Reddit, and the company has pledged to improve software tools used by moderators with third-party bots that help that effort still supported.

The ChatGPT logo on a smartphone

The ChatGPT chat screen on a laptop computer and logo on a smartphone arranged in Brooklyn, N.Y., March 9, 2023.  (Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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In a blog post, Reddit said its goal to enable developers to build great products for users and moderators has not changed, but that it was updating its terms for developer tools and services and building new moderator tools. 

“Use of our data API, Reddit embeds and ads API remains subject to additional terms for those specific developer services, respectively the data API terms, Reddit embeds terms of use and ads API terms. We’ve kept these additional terms relatively similar to the prior versions of them but have further clarified that user content is owned by redditors that have created and submitted content on Reddit and cannot be used without permission,” Reddit said. 

The Reddit logo on a smartphone

The Reddit Inc. logo on a smartphone in Hastings-On-Hudson, N.Y., Jan. 29, 2021.  (Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The site noted that it was introducing a new premium access point for third parties who require additional capabilities and broader and higher usage, with most developers notified of the new terms via email on Tuesday. The terms take effect after a 60-day notice period.

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“As Reddit continues to grow, providing updates and clarity helps developers and researchers align their work with our guiding principles and community values. We’re committed to strengthening trust with redditors and driving long-term value for developers who use our platform,” Reddit concluded.



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