Has /r/conspiracy been taken over by /r/the_donald?

Ever since the 2016 US Presidential election, there have been claims that Reddit’s /r/conspiracy subreddit has been “taken over” and utilised as a propaganda platform by Donald Trump supporters.

There have even been claims that the /r/conspiracy moderation team has been actively suppressing theories that paint the current president in a negative light.

Originally, we didn’t want to touch this topic with a barge pole.

This is because a) it seems to be an emotive and polarizing issue, b) US politics doesn’t really impact us and c) there seems to be a lot of crazies on both sides.

However, the drama kept raging on and curiosity eventually got the better of us in the end.

Compiling the statistics.

On two separate occasions in early 2017, we ran a script that compiled a list of usernames that had recently posted to /r/conspiracy. In the end, we were left with a list of 1,555 Reddit users that had participated in the subreddit in the past week or so.

Using that list, we were able to compile a list of all of the subreddits that these users posted to in the past.

The stats.

Out of the 1,555 /r/conspiracy users that were “surveyed”.

  • 850 / 1,555 users had previously posted in the_donald subreddit. That’s 54.66%.
  • 244 of those 1,555 users had 50+ posts in the_donald.
  • The average the_donald post count for the 850 “the_donald” users was 85.19.
  • The average the_donald post count for all 1,555 users was 30.11.

But what if we exclude the users that have less than 50 posts in /r/conspiracy? In other words, what if we to remove anyone who might have just been “passing by”?

  • 763 users had 50+ posts in /r/conspiracy.
  • 449 of those 763 users had posted in the_donald. That’s 58.85%. These 449 users had an average of 99.13 posts in the_donald.
  • 148 of those 449 users had 50+ posts in the_donald.
  • The 763 users with 50+ posts in /r/conspiracy had an average of 36.72 posts in /r/the_donald.

Subreddit Overlaps.

We also compiled each user’s subreddit posting history into one big combined list. These 1,555 /r/conspiracy users had the following “combined post count” in the following subreddits.

  1. conspiracy – 236,182 (obviously).
  2. the_donald – 72,412
  3. politics – 69,012
  4. worldpolitics – 5,396
  5. sandersforpresident – 4,918
  6. wayofthebern – 4,839
  7. enoughtrumpspam – 3,596
  8. wikileaks – 3,232
  9. asktrumpsupporters – 3,039
  10. libertarian – 3,033
  11. hillaryforprison – 2,430
  12. askthe_donald – 1,681
  13. theredpill – 1,477
  14. political_revolution – 1,456
  15. conservative – 1,298

Note that we purposely excluded subreddits such as pics, funny, hockey, videos, etc, as they do not really mean anything in this case.

This article was published on February 23, 2017.