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Reddit removes years of chat and message archives from users’ accounts
July 15, 2023

Reddit removes years of chat and message archives from users’ accounts

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Many Redditors were caught off guard by the removal of their chat and message history.

The Reddit blackout protests didn’t quite force the company to reverse course on its API changes that resulted in the shutdown of many popular third-party apps, but it did succeed in dominating the conversation around the platform for weeks.

However, while everyone was paying attention to the protests, Reddit made some other big changes to its platform. One of those changes resulted in the removal of years of users’ private conversations on the platform.

Over the past few weeks, many Redditors have reported the disappearance of their private chat logs and messages shared between other Reddit users over the years. MediaDownloader also noticed the same on two reporters’ personal accounts. Messages and live chats from before 2023 are no longer accessible by users.

‘I lost EVERY.SINGLE.ONE. of my Chats – 7 years of history I was saving,’ posted one Redditor. ‘I just discovered this and I am devastated. I’ve lost contacts with Redditors I wanted to save, a ton of research shared back and forth, information that isn’t available anywhere publicly.’

‘Met my wife on reddit…disappointing we lost those first messages,’ another user posted.

MediaDownloader confirmed with Reddit that messages and chat history are no longer available if they were made prior to January 1, 2023. A Reddit spokesperson forwarded MediaDownloader a changelog announcement made on June 22 where the company shared that these messages would be removed.

‘In our continued pursuit of empowering communities, we are transitioning to a new chat infrastructure,’ reads the changelog notice. ‘In an effort to have a smooth and quick transition to this new infrastructure, we will migrate chat messages sent from January 1, 2023 onward. This change will be effective starting June 30th.’

It appears many Redditors missed the notice, which appears after two other feature announcements, at least ten paragraphs into the changelog post. The notice also doesn’t explicitly say that messages from before 2023 will be removed. In addition, some Redditors have shared that their messages and chats disappeared from their account days before the June 30 date.

‘I’m pretty upset at the way Reddit chose to do this (and that I didn’t get any messages from Reddit warning users about this),’ one Redditor wrote on the platform.

In response to the feedback in one of the posts, a Reddit admin explained that Reddit was ‘migrating legacy chats to the new platforms and, unfortunately, only data for 2023 is replicated.’

How to potentially recover some of the missing Reddit messages

The admin did provide a potential solution for some users to access their old chats. It appears some users may be able to download all their messages, including ones prior to 2023, by making a data request at while logged into their Reddit account. 

MediaDownloader was successful in retrieving old messages and chats no longer showing in a user account through this method. In addition, using the old version of Reddit which is still accessible at, users may still be able to access inbox messages prior to 2023. However, old live chats are not accessible here as they were launched under the new version of Reddit in 2018. 

However, some Redditors have reported that even the data request option did not retrieve their old chats or some messages were missing. While MediaDownloader’s data request took a few minutes, it can take up to 30 days for some to receive the downloadable file with their data.

Reddit changes continue to pile up

Along with the recent API changes and chat history removal, Reddit has also made another decision unpopular with its users. On Friday, Reddit announced it was ending its Reddit Gold reward system and faced immediate backlash from its users.

Most social media platforms today provide users with the ability to export their content and provide ample warning before the company makes a decision to delete data from its servers. Still though, users who place sentimental value on what they post on social networks should regularly make local backups of their data. In 2019, years after it was last relevant, MySpace announced that it had lost more than 12 years worth of users’ data, such as music and photos. Many former users, who hadn’t accessed the platform in over a decade, were nonetheless outraged over the loss of their online data.


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