Since its inception in 2005, Reddit has been courting controversy among netizens.
But despite the buzz surrounding the wildly popular social media platform, it’s primarily a place where different people and communities come together and have fruitful conversations and healthy debates.
So, why do people consider Reddit so liberal?
Some have coined Reddit as being a more left-leaning liberal platform. There are multiple reasons for this. This is a result of the partisanship of most of its participants. Other factors include the demographic of the users and the nature of how Reddit works.
It is quite a well-known fact that Reddit attracts centrists and liberals and has piqued the interests of researchers that try to explain why that is.
Even though the platform has a solid conservative presence, it is usually overshadowed by the left.
In this article, we’ll explain in detail what makes Reddit so liberal and discuss the relevant factors.
Overview of Reddit
Founded in 2005 by a group of University of Virginia students, Reddit is an American social media platform providing users with news, content, and discussion spaces.
Its users, also known as Redditors, provide content in the form of posts on self-created boards called subreddits which act as forums or communities.
By March 2022, Reddit was the 9th most visited website in the world and the 6th most visited website in the US.
Stats Behind Reddit’s Liberality
According to Statista, by February 2016, 79% of all current Reddit users and 81% of all new users identified as either liberal or moderate on the political spectrum.
This is a stark difference from the 64% of all US adults identifying similarly on the spectrum, which begs the question, ‘Why is Reddit so liberal?’.
Compared to the general public, Reddit users are much more likely to get their news from electronic sources such as websites and apps than cable or local TV news or print version newspapers.
Further, in trying to understand how the platform works, apart from comments, users interact with posts by either upvoting or downvoting. Both drive the post’s visibility for the remaining user base.
How Do Reddit Mods Affect Liberalism?
Additionally, these subreddits are moderated by a group of volunteers, usually referred to as ‘mods.’ These mods are either founders or experienced members of the community and are promoted by other mods on the forum.
Moderators overlook posts and comments and govern them with specific rules for each particular subreddit.
This democratic approach of allowing users to set their standards of acceptability sets a unique style of content moderation.
It ensures a more decentralized bottom-up approach that entrusts critical decision-making to their communities, which users feel much less restricted.
In contrast, other social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter utilize artificial intelligence and hire moderators to impose a very ambiguous set of corporate policies throughout the platform.
How Discussions Affect Redditors?
According to a scientific report by nature, despite political polarization increasing generally, there is much more cross-community discourse on Reddit than on other social media platforms.
This allows for a greater flow of information through moderated discussions. While polarization on social media causes an echo chamber of opinions, the Reddit network presents heterophily rather than homophily.
This was established by analyzing cross-group interactions of supporters of both parties’ presidential candidates during the 2016 general elections.
What Are the Geographic and Age Factors?
Geographically speaking, Reddit has been much more popular in urban cities as compared to rural areas.
This also reflects the largely liberal user base, as urban areas tend to have more leftist and liberal political affiliations. In contrast, rural areas have the bulk of right-wing, conservative, and nationalist attitudes.
Regarding age, the most significant chunk of Reddit users are between the age bracket of 20-29 (28.1%), followed closely by ages 30-39 (26.1%).
It is also commonly known that citizens tend to gravitate more toward conservative beliefs as they age, while the youth make up the liberal population. This political divide by age biases the Reddit network to be liberal-dominated.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram do not follow the same democratic flow of information that Reddit does.
That is the biggest reason behind those platforms’ political leanings, primarily steered in one direction by corporations and political parties according to their interest.
However, Reddit stands out in terms of its demographic and voting system.
About 42-49% of Reddit’s user base comes from the United States, followed by the UK at 7.9-8%.
Twitter has a greater reach than Reddit, with almost 200M registered users on the social media platform.
Reddit is a social media platform, a news website, and a public forum where users upload content and are socially curated and promoted by Reddit mods or members through a system of “upvoting” and “downvoting.”
Most young adults use Reddit to access news and have debate and discourse over matters that concern the public. The platform also has an entertainment aspect but is overshadowed by social commentary.