Reddit Caught in Massive Subscriber Count Lie?

30

TL;DR? Read the last few lines.

Edit: Make sure you decide for yourself on what to believe. I don’t want to be spreading Fake News. That’s for CNN.

Being incredibly active on The_Donald subreddit, I watch everything. I watch the front page, I stare at the new tab twenty three hours a day, and I keep an eye on the subscriber count.

For the past few days, I’ve noticed something interesting. The subscriber count is just wrong. It’s completely wrong.

I first noticed a few days ago when we were running up to 370,000 subscribers. I watched it tick over, and over the next day it didn’t look right. It didn’t look like we were gaining as many subscribers as our graph shows. The graph I am referencing is from the OFFICIAL statistic page for the subreddit. Every subreddit has one.

subscription_graph

First of all, I’d like to clear this up:

Subscriber counts on the sidebar absolutely do update instantly – they don’t seem to be cached for any more than at most a few seconds, because /r/redacted and other subreddits update whenever I refresh the page. As far as I can tell, subscriber counts don’t update instantly on /r/the_donald – you can check that for yourself by refreshing the page after a few seconds (it should probably only take 10 seconds or so) and seeing the change. Check a bigger subreddit – it’ll update every single refresh.

I took to Wayback Machine to figure out what exactly was wrong with the subscriber count on The_Donald, because I just had a feeling it was wrong – but I didn’t have any concrete proof.

Thankfully the subreddit is archived on Wayback Machine many, many times a day. This made is easy to find (what is, in my opinion) evidence for our subscriber count being interfered with.

I just refreshed /r/redacted again as I typed this, 5 minutes after I last refreshed, and they went up another 7 subscribers.

Before I show “evidence”, I’d like to mention a possible cause for this, and also a reason for why the possible cause isn’t likely.

The Reddit traffic stats page does not count unsubscriptions. It could be that the subreddit is losing many subscribers, but it’s unlikely. Very, very unlikely. The subreddit was never a default, which means that everyone who subscribed clicked the sub button themselves, and nor is the subreddit running out of steam. There’s just no reason to unsubscribe on a mass scale.

Additionally, if we were actually losing subscribers, the amount of subscribers we lose on any given day would not be in any way correlative to the amount we gain. For example, why would we lose more subs on a day where we also gain more? We’d lose the same amount every day, and considering the net gain is so small on some days (160 gained net on December 29th) there’d surely be a day where we overall lose subs. I didn’t find any days like that.

Our subscriber count is being adjusted.

It’s hard to specifically pinpoint definite errors between counts since Reddit’s graph timezone and Wayback Machine’s timezones are different.

I’ll give you data according to Wayback Machine for a 24 hour period on some dates which are also on Reddit’s graph. This is the only responsible method I can come up with.

  • December 29th – 326,624 to 326,784, change of 160
  • December 30th – 326,802 to 327,096, change of 294
  • December 31st – 327,096 to 327,373, change of 277
  • January 1st – 327,381 to 327,615, change of 234
  • January 2nd – 327,613 to 327,893, change of 280

You can see the data from Reddit’s official graph which suggests completely different numbers for these days.

1k

We should have been gaining about a thousand a day but we were gaining about 200? You can also see this here.

dates

Skip ahead to the start of February and take some dates from Wayback Machine.

  • February 1st – 356,411 to 357,250, change of 839
  • February 2nd – 357,250 to 359,016, change of 1766
  • February 3rd – 359,016 to 359,782, change of 766
  • February 4th – 359,782 to 360,737, change of 955

Again, we can see that we’re meant to be gaining many more than my research suggests.

2k

Finally, let’s skip to the 14th February.

  • February 14th – 365,411 to 366,065, change of 654
  • February 15th – 366,065 to 366,669, change of 604
  • February 16th – 366,669 to 369,754, change of 3085
  • February 17th – 369,754 to 370,544, change of 790

Even the day with 3085 gained is wrong. We were meant to have gained 4,750!

4k

I’ll end up with two links to Wayback Machine.

Between the dates of December 29th and January 2nd, we were meant to gain 5019 subscribers according to The_Donald’s stat graph.

We can see on these two Wayback Machine links, click and see for yourself:

We only gained a whopping 1,269.

Assuming the algorithm was put in place once the subreddit started gaining steam, and for every subscriber 4 subscribers we gain, it only shows 1 new subscriber, we could be at around 1 million subscribers at this point. Considering by page views we’re one of the top 3 subreddits on the entire site, this is 100% realistic.

30 COMMENTS

  1. Hey buddy you forgot one thing. Share blue has a lot of boys they deploy every day. In fact $40,000,000 worth so the_donald mods delete a lot of accounts. Dont know if it’s that many but I wouldn’t be surprised.

    • Potentially. Would they bother to subscribe, though? That’d help our cause rather than work against us. They want the T_D subscriber count to be as low as possible.

      • They want to discourage real subscribers. They want to demoralize real people. That can be done in a lot of different ways. Subscriber count is one of the least impactful, in that a subscriber is not the same as an active participant. If they discourage you from showing up, the mood will be different.

        ShareBlue absolutely causes data anomalies. Posts have karma jumping all over the place, from first being downvoted, to then “fixed” when the bot downvoters are purged.

        All the same, good on you for actually doing that thing and collecting some data. Thanks. Love that you simply took two publicly available sources to call BS on the inconsistency. Don’t stop. Even if some of it can be (theoretically) explained, people need to collect the data all the same.

      • The uniques per day count is right around 200k-300k, pretty much exactly as would be expected for the reported subscriber count.

        Of course, that hasn’t stopped the submission leading to this page from claiming the sub might be at 1 million. #fakenews

        • Have you checked that vs other subs? Sub count vs uniques? Because I did.

          r/mma 250k subs, 65k uniques per day avg
          r/science 15m subs, 60-100k uniques per day avg
          r/politics 3.3m subs, 325k uniques per day avg

          Uniques per day for the_donald is FAR higher than it should be for the amount of subs, compared to other subs.

          the_donald 370k subs, 220k uniques. Ratio of uniques to subs is very different to other subs.

      • Since (((Reddit))) has been shown multiple times to be working directly for the DNC, such as when they attempted to purge the Paul Combetta messages, it’s entirely possible that what you are seeing is ShareBlue/CTR/George Soros subscriptions… but they’ve asked themselves not to be counted as to not to inflate the sub count.

        T_D is massively, massively brigaded. They could be running in stealth mode.

  2. Do you guys get analytics stats of how many page views and things? I’d be interested to see a few month trend of page views. I know quite a few people that just access the sub directly.

  3. Further, President Trump has MANY MILLIONS of subscribers on popular social media. Reddit is the 8th most trafficked website in the USA, so given that r/The_Donald is THE PRIMARY forum for Trump supporters to gather online it’s questionable at best that he would only have 1/3 of a mere ONE million there.

    I never thought about it until this was brought up but it may be reasonable to expect that r/The_Donald has AT LEAST 1 million subscribers, taking into account things like:
    – common knowledge that Reddit literally modifies it’s site in unprecedented ways and manipulates user-facing data to suppress and censor r/The_Donald and to promote anti-T_D and anti-Trump content
    – one of the top 3 most trafficked subreddits on the 8th most trafficked website in the USA

  4. Look at you idiots. Just like Trump you’re convinced you’re the ‘biggest sub ever!’ and any information saying otherwise just has to be a conspiracy theory against you.
    Or, you know, the fact you guys use bots regularly (and proven btw) for up voting your shitty threads to the front page make you seem more popular than you actually are.
    And the fact you ban more people than any other sub everyday means people who subscribe to laugh at your shit everyday and end up calling you out on it and getting banned drags your subscriber number down.

    But no, of course it’s a vast conspiracy against you all because you’re so close to the truth and breaking open the very fabric of the political spectrum.

    • Well, we did win the election. We have the candidate that has done the most, concerning his campaign promises, ever. The fact that you don’t need to be subscribed to contribute or post there kind of makes half of your entire comment void.

      This is added that you, and your kind, can’t thoroughly differentiate between legal and illegal, facts and fake, racists and non-racists, etc. (should I go on?) You say we’re the conspiracy theorists; however, if any part of that is true… it’s because we don’t know what to believe in the fucking media anymore. What’s your excuse?

      The ‘… you guys use bots regularly (and proven btw)…’. Please, by all means, post the proof? Regardless, what does that have to do with the subject at hand?

      Typical Liberal asshat… letting your pelican beak override your hummingbird ass, and making the rest of us laugh at you. You do realize it’s people like you that helped get ‘Big Bad Terrible Trump’ in the White House? No? Still in denial? Okay… keep on keepin’ on, as we appreciate your support.

      – xxivvii

      • I subscribed at one point to get a different perspective than the one that is prevalent everywhere else. My opinion of Trump is the same as every President before him…they’re all massively self serving. But, I’d never before seen the groupie effect that Trump has on people. So, I subscribed. About a week in I made a comment that was, apparently, not to one of your admin’s liking and was instantly banned/kicked from the sub.

        I wouldn’t be shocked if your admins were a big reason for such low numbers. Sure, Trump won the election, but it appears only fanbois on their knees in front of Trump are allowed to participate. And, the number of people who worship an asshat politician (and he is an asshat politician) are always going to be lower than the number of people who might kinda/sorta be okay with the guy because he was just a less shitty option than the other shitty option.

        Also, that’s where most of Americans were with this election. They held their nose and went with the option they saw as less shitty. So, that guy you guys are all jizzing yourself about? Most Americans just see him as a less shitty option.

        Yet, you guys are having a hard time believing that there aren’t more people actively participating in trying to get him off via reddit.

    • Typical lefty hysterical Trump hater. Ignore the evidence, push a tired conspiracy theory that Trump and his supporters “have wild ideas with no evidence.”

      Unclever. Uninteresting. You’re an idiot.

  5. Not to take away from the important message of the article, but I’d like to point out a typo in the following paragraph:

    Thankfully the subreddit is archived on Wayback Machine many, many times a day. This made is easy to find (what is, in my opinion) evidence for our subscriber count being interfered with.

    The “is” in the 2nd sentence should most certainly be an “it.”

    A thought provoking article nonetheless…Quite worrisome.

    P.S. Feel free to delete this comment after a correction is made 🙂

  6. Hmm it’s almost as if /r/the_donald users are doing something unscrupulous to increase their subscriber count, just like they do to fake the upvotes on all their posts. I would explain on reddit, but those politically correct losers banned me from their safe space.

  7. The existing immigration laws allow the federal government to remove the inadmissible aliens from the territory with deportation and this is the law of the land which has not been changed. The prior administrations under Clinton, Bush, and Obama decided not to enforce the deportation and turn a blind eye to the immigration law and the current sanctuary cities are another way for the local authorities to contravene the existing federal law. Under democracy, the unpopular law can be changed and the existing laws are to be respected and not be flouted as long as they are on the books.

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