Unlike many other platforms, Reddit’s earned a reputation for embracing the countless weird and wacky bots its users have created to run wild on the platform. And while some of these bots have gone to that great Github in the sky, reports that two beloved video-downloader bots were getting the axe this week apparently jumped the gun.
In a post published Monday afternoon, the creator of two bots, aptly named “savevideobot” and “redditsave,” claimed that they have to shut down the service after only a few months of operation. The creator also said that someone—it’s not clear who—was threatening them with a lawsuit if they refused to comply.
“It has been a great pleasure to serve you all in the past few months. However, as they say, All good things must come to an end,” the creator wrote. “The gods of reddit have reached out to us. They do not want us to continue this service any longer. I am obliged to obey or risk a lawsuit. Thank you all for making my fun project what it is today.”
According to the bots’ creator, the bots “will no longer be functional in the next few hours.” Nearly a day later, however, and the bots still appear to work. And the site the bot saves videos to, RedditSave.com, is still online as of Tuesday afternoon. Not only that, but the bots’ creator updated the original post on Tuesday afternoon to claim, “We are back.” A peek at the bots’ Reddit history shows they were humming away since the original post went live on Monday.
While many speculated that Reddit itself is behind the lawsuit threat, a spokesperson confirmed to Gizmodo that they actually had nothing to do with it—but declined to offer comment beyond saying that the company is “currently investigating this issue.”
The downloaders in question are just a few of the bots that redditors have whipped up in order to fix one of the platform’s most annoying features: undownloadable content.
Reddit’s always given its users the option to upload multimedia content in one of two ways: either externally or locally to Reddit’s own servers. In the latter case, once that picture or video is uploaded onto a post, the platform doesn’t offer any sort of native way to let anyone browsing the site download it for themselves. This means that, over the years, we’ve seen creative coders take matters into their own hands, creating bots that would do that downloading for you. Savevideobot was maybe the most popular of the bunch, with millions of redditors regularly using the service.
These sorts of bots have had a tough go lately. Other popular bots like VRedditDownloader and SaveThisVideo were both unceremoniously suspended in recent months following a slew of copyright infringement claims from creators that found their content being downloaded using these tools.
Less than 24 hours after this whirlwind of a saga started, the creator has promised that more info on the supposedly doomed bots would come “soon.” We’ve reached out to them for an update on all this, but hopefully, these bots are back for good.