Reddit is regularly manipulated by marketing agencies who use the platform to shill for fake news, products, and reputation management. (via Forbes).
Jay McGregor writes that a marketing agency openly bragged on the phone to him about manipulating public discourse on Reddit.
I work with a number of accounts on Reddit that we can use to change the conversation. And make it a bit more positive.
In his own experiment last year, Mr. McGregor posted two fake news stories onto certain subreddits. He bought fake accounts and fake upvotes for US$200. And he isn’t the only one doing it.
Professional marketing agencies routinely offer these services and call them “reputation management.” You’d think that these services were some underground Dark Web type thing. Nope. One agency in the U.K. said it “handled multinational and multilingual campaigns for forex (financial and currency exchange) companies.”
Reddit moderators are aware of this, and do their best to combat this type of shilling. It’s a tough battle, because the first thing they look at to verify an account’s authenticity is to look at its age and level of karma. But there are known examples—like Gallowboob—of old accounts with plenty of karma to push comments and posts to the top.
Whether you want to promote a cause, a politician, or fake news, there are plenty of resources to do so on a platform that built its reputation with original content created by its users.