Discord, Youtube, Reddit, and Twitter Are All Attempting Self-Destruction
It's a rough time for social media. Four giants are currently doing their best to anger their user-base and undermine the purpose of their platforms.
Starting with the least disruptive end, Discord. They're continuing to search for new ways to squeeze out more money from their users. In this round, that includes allowing servers to set paywalls, opening another store for microtransactions, and hilariously, offering premium memes.
We can hope that most Discord servers will opt not to use these features, but given that the tools exist, it's going to happen somewhere. Discord is likely to cut a deal with popular servers to attempt getting this feature rolling, like they have done in the past with new features.
The idea that the only way to post memes is by paying someone to make it for you is too hilarious, but a real possibility in this new ecosystem.
This change is not likely to be significant enough to kill Discord, since for now it is largely opt in. I wouldn't be surprised if in the future Discord started putting more restrictions on servers, such as limiting the number of channels for a "free" tier. Discord is still bleeding money and massively in debt. They're going to be desperate to squeeze people, even though a surprising number of users buy premium.
Next, Youtube is experimenting with blocking users who use a content blocker. Their new policy is to show a pop-up warning the user they can only watch 3 videos before they will be blocked.
Youtube staff really want to push more ads onto their users. In the past, they've experimented with playing up to 10 unskippable ads in a row, or 30 second ads, which just drives more ad-tolerant users to find a way to block ads. They're trying to frame this as wanting to better support their creators.
“We take disabling playback very seriously, and will only disable playback if viewers ignore repeated requests to allow ads on YouTube,” Falodun’s email to The Verge reads
Historically, Youtube has done as little as possible to compensate their creators. It's the entire reason Patreon exists. Such words sound hollow when they fail to ever communicate with their creators.
Creators are not asking Youtube to do this. People block ads because of the abusive behavior ads commit. The more Youtube pushes ads to be hell, the more adversarial this becomes. They're trying to put a corporate PR spin on this to find some way to make it positive, but it's Google and Youtube's abusive tactics that users need such self-defense to avoid their privacy invasion, digital stalking, manipulation, selling the user, wasting their time, and taking advantage of their patience.
It's unclear at this time how exactly Youtube tracks users for a block. I would guess they set a cookie, which will be easy enough to avoid by clearing cookies regularly. They could also be IP tracking, and choose to block the IP entirely. That will get messy fast. They might even start banning people's accounts for being "against their Terms of Service". Only time will tell.
The big news of the day, today is the day Reddit switches their API to a premium only model, causing the death of many Reddit clients and tools.
Reddit's reputation has been in a steady decline as CEO Steve Huffman continues to dig the company's grave with massive disrespect to the communities it hosts.
The amount of scummy behavior Reddit staff have committed while trying to ignore the issue has only worsened their reputation to an exponential degree.
If you haven't been following along, start here to understand how it began.
Apollo dev explains how Reddit's atrocious communication lead them to close down the app.
- They gave app developers a sudden price jump of $20 million per year to use their API, and only 30 days to work around it.
- Steve Huffman lied and tried to ruin the Apollo dev's reputation after they did not agree to pay.
Steve doubled down on this behavior during his disastrous AMA, in which he only responded to 14 questions with pre-written copy-paste answers.
Reddit sent mass messages threatening moderators to re-open their closed subreddits. (So much for allowing moderators to choose how they run their communities!)
Reddit has been forcefully removing moderators to replace with scabs and re-open subreddits.
The quality of subreddits have dropped dramatically without their moderators. Spam bots are taking over, because mod tools that relied on can't function with the API changes. Reddit expects that by threatening the people who have given them billions of dollars in free labor are suddenly going to start being able to do their job. They literally can't now, even if they wanted to. Steve and the rest of Reddit staff in charge of decisions would gladly throw that away for some extra ad revenue.
In a recent interview with The Verge, Steve likens the platform to being like a city, which the users have created, and he gets to free-load off of. He compared democracy to being a riot which can be ignored and will blow over, rather than as, y'know, a process where everyone gets to make an input by voting, providing their input through a forum where they are heard...
On top of that, there's the double-think that the blackout both has no effect, yet is also massively disruptive to the site's users.
He clarifies that he views developers as competition that are stealing money from Reddit by using their data. He does not see that they are supporting Reddit by providing tools that the site sorely lacks. Reddit will die without moderators.
Reddit mods are leaving the site for other platforms such as Lemmy and Kbin. Scabs will take their place, and the Reddit communities will be forcefully re-opened.
As a result of this kerfuffle, Reddit's value has plummeted significantly.
Fidelity has cut Reddit valuation by 41% since 2021 investment
There has been too much happening with Reddit to accurately summarize it all. The gist to take is that Reddit is profit first; they do not care about users. Even worse, they see them as an enemy. They will continue to make the platform worse as long as they think it will garner profits. A community based on good will cannot continue to operate under these conditions.
Reddit's reputation is falling so deeply into the gutter, it will be amazing if Reddit lasts much longer. It's true there's a portion of users who will remain who don't care to think about the circumstances of how the site operates. The site will likely limp on for a few more years before shutting down due to plummeting profits. Or perhaps they'll find a way to squeeze enough out of the remaining users to stay afloat. My money is on them fading into obscurity like MySpace, the empty buildings still standing like a ghost town.
Jumping in under the hullabaloo of Reddit's API disaster, Twitter now prevents anyone who does not have an account from interacting with the site. Period.
No reading posts, no looking at profiles; nothing.
This affects services like Nitter as well. There are no workarounds this time.
Twitter's main function was to give people a way to reach out publicly. It replaced a mailing list for many businesses. Youtubers encouraged subscribers to follow them on Twitter in place of Youtube's terrible notification system. News sites used it as a new way to reach people. Even governments used it as a way to do so. Disaster outreach. All of it gone.
Making Twitter 100% private shows a fundamental misunderstanding about what Twitter's role is.
It's possible this wasn't an intentional decision. In the past, Elon tried hiring renowned hacker George Hotz to fix Twitter's search, but failed to keep them on staff for more than 4 weeks, out of an expected 12.
Twitter is falling apart, and the new owner's ludicrous management style has led him to be unable to keep engineers on staff. It could be he is literally unable to find someone to fix things as they break. If so, making things private could be a last ditch effort to put another patch on the sinking ship.
This is the worst social media news of the day, since this literally makes the site unusable. It will be impossible to keep going if people can't use it. It could finally be the last nail in the coffin to send it off.