reddit is a social news aggregation and discussion website. According to Alexa, a platform specializing in measuring internet traffic and statistics, Reddit is the fifth most popular website in the United States and the United Kingdom, the ninth most visited website in the world, with more than half a billion unique monthly visitors. Clearly, Reddit is an absolute internet giant.

What's unique about Reddit?

The unique thing about Reddit and, perhaps, what attracts people to it more than anything else, is the website's architecture -- Reddit is divided into thousands of subreddits, specialized discussion forums.

Registered Reddit users can "upvote" or "downvote" a submission within any given subreddit. This mechanism is supposed to serve quality -- the best and most popular posts receive the most upvotes and therefore get to the top, directing traffic to linked websites, images or generating discussion.

This has not gone unnoticed by brands, companies, individuals, musicians, artists, filmmakers -- everyone is trying to subtly self-promote on Reddit and go viral, bringing in traffic to their website, video, advertising their services or anything else. While self-promotion is frowned upon on Reddit (which is why Redditors often downvote blatantly self-promotional posts, even if the moderators don't remove them) it's safe to conclude that there have been countless successful attempts over the years.

Pushing agendas on Reddit

Reddit is a left-leaning website and there is nothing inherently bad about that -- right wing and right-leaning subreddits are not censored (with /r/The_Donald, a subreddit dedicated to the current POTUS being an exception), but they are less popular among the Reddit demographic. After CNN doxxed a Reddit user that posted a funny gif, involving Trump "beating up" CNN in a wrestling ring, new talks about Reddit getting censored and manipulated have come to the limelight.

Perhaps the most concerning thing about Reddit is the fact that Reddit upvotes can be bought. All one has to do is type a few keywords into Google's search bar and dozens of websites selling such services pop up. Recently, a YouTuber posted a video to /r/videos, claiming that he had bought upvotes and gotten to the front page of the said subreddit with ease.

A legitimate question arises: If anyone can buy Reddit upvotes for a few dollars, what can companies and politicians do? Clearly, Reddit's anti-spam mechanism isn't as efficient as it is supposed to be and that is perhaps enough to make everyone using this website doubt its authenticity and the entire upvote-downvote system that the website is based on and famous for. The content or comment that a user posts no longer has to be entertaining or interesting in order to get to the front page of Reddit and reach half a billion people -- it just needs to get upvoted. This poses another question: How many times has Reddit's system been manipulated and gamed, how many narratives have been pushed and how much propaganda has been shoved down our throats via this website?