Steve Huffman speaking in front of pink and blue background

G Holland/Shuttrstock (Licensed)

Reddit’s popular r/place closes on one final ‘F*ck Spez’ note

Reddit users are still upset at its CEO.


Andrea Guzman


Posted on Aug 3, 2023

After six years, Reddit announced that r/place is closing. 

When it first appeared in 2017, users were exhilarated by the group art project. It worked by allowing redditors to only change one square pixel on a digital canvas every five minutes, requiring coordination to piece together a collage with patterns that meshed. Made by Wordle creator Josh Wardle, the thrill of collaborating to make digital art enchanted users when it returned in 2022 and again this year. 

But the site has seen a lot of changes since the subreddit’s initial launch. In recent months, CEO Steve Huffman has drawn the ire of users angry over price changes to its API, or application programming interface. At the start of July, Reddit installed the new API pricing policy that significantly upped the cost for developers. 

The cost was so high that third-party Reddit apps like the popular Apollo reader said it was financially unsustainable and it could no longer operate

Redditers protested the price changes while Huffman, whose Reddit username is spez, called them the “landed gentry” and defended the move. For many redditors, the behavior provoked deep feelings of anger toward Huffman.

In June, some subreddits prepared for a drawn out battle by going dark, which prevented users from accessing various communities during the blackout. Reddit shot back by threatening to remove the moderation status of users at the helm of protesting communities unless they reopened. 

Still, Reddit banded together for a few days in July for the latest iteration of the canvas. It drew heavy anti-Huffman sentiment and included “fuck spez” tagged in massive letters in the finished creation. 

Flying right past the Huffman criticism, a Reddit admin announcing the close thanked everyone who participated this year, adding: “until we meet again. <3.”

But Redditers weren’t having it with any heartfelt messages. The top-upvoted comment on the announcement was “FUCK u/SPEZ.”

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*First Published: Aug 3, 2023, 7:38 am CDT