Reddit Investigation Alleges Massive Subscriber Fraud

An independent researcher on Reddit has presented evidence that the Reddit administration team is fraudulently altering the subscriber numbers on Reddit's popular pro-Trump subreddit /r/the_donald in an attempt to make the forum appear less popular.

The online community, /r/the_donald, was created in June 2015 following the announcement of Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Since then, the community has reportedly grown to over 380,000 subscribers and in November 2016 was ranked as one of the most active communities on Reddit, a website with a motto describing itself as "The front page of the Internet".

However, according to an investigation by Reddit user RedditPolitician_, the "official" subscriber count is grossly underreported. He claims the actual number of subscribers is just over 720,000.

RedditPolitician_'s post on March 14 reveals how he came to this conclusion. By using the archived traffic stats he recorded the number of subscribers gained each day and added them all together. The sum of all new subscribers each day equaled 721,719. With this new information, the number of subscribers displayed on /r/the_donald could only be correct if  342,801 users unsubscribed from the subreddit. This is highly unlikely considering /r/the_donald averages 1-1.5 million page views per day, with 45,000-50,000 of those daily users being reported as "unique", generally meaning they are visiting the subreddit for the first time.

We've known there has been subscriber fraud for some time now, even before the original story broke, we had our suspicions. I'm extremely proud and happy I can deliver this information to enlighten, inform, and shed light onto the b******* restrictions placed on us solely because we have a different opinion.

-RedditPolitician_

The controversial subreddit has been a target for main stream media journalists who claim its users have propagated the "alt-right" platform which they have designated as far-right and, oftentimes, a neo-nazi branch of rejected mainstream conservatism.
Reddit's administrators have a long track record of censoring not just Trump supporters, but also other kinds of non-mainstream political speech as well. On November 23, 2016, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman admitted to altering comments of /r/the_donald users by replacing expletive-laden comments directed at his username to be directed at the usernames of /r/the_donald moderators instead. On November 30, 2016, Huffman announced that threads from /r/the_donald would no longer show up on /r/all, which displays the top ranked posts from all subreddits on the site, a place frequented by user-generated content from the popular subreddit, /r/the_donald. While Huffman's rules were criticized by many Redditors, some called upon Huffman to ban the subreddit entirely. While members of the subreddit claimed they were the victims of censorship, Huffman justified his actions saying he was "banning behavior, not ideas."
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