"I Can’t Keep It Up." A Dataset from the Defunct Voat.co News Aggregator

Authors

  • Amin Mekacher City University of London
  • Antonis Papasavva University College London

Keywords:

Qualitative and quantitative studies of social media, Organizational and group behavior mediated by social media; interpersonal communication mediated by social media, Social network analysis; communities identification; expertise and authority discovery

Abstract

Voat.co was a news aggregator website that shut down on December 25, 2020. The site had a troubled history and was known for hosting various banned subreddits. This paper presents a dataset with over 2.3M submissions and 16.2M comments posted from 113K users in 7.1K subverses (the equivalent of subreddit for Voat). Our dataset covers the whole lifetime of Voat, from its developing period starting on November 8, 2013, the day it was founded, April 2014, up until the day it shut down (December 25, 2020). This work presents the largest and most complete publicly available Voat dataset, to the best of our knowledge. Along with the release of this dataset, we present a preliminary analysis covering posting activity and daily user and subverse registration on the platform so that researchers interested in our dataset can know what to expect. Our data may prove helpful to false news dissemination studies as we analyze the links users share on the platform, finding that many communities rely on alternative news press, like Breitbart and GatewayPundit, for their daily discussions. In addition, we perform network analysis on user interactions finding that many users prefer not to interact with subverses outside their narrative interests, which could be helpful to researchers focusing on polarization and echo chambers. Also, since Voat was one of the platforms banned Reddit communities migrated to, we are confident our dataset will motivate and assist researchers studying deplatforming. Finally, many hateful and conspiratorial communities were very popular on Voat, which makes our work valuable for researchers focusing on toxicity, conspiracy theories, cross-platform studies of social networks, and natural language processing.

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Published

2022-05-31

How to Cite

Mekacher, A., & Papasavva, A. (2022). "I Can’t Keep It Up." A Dataset from the Defunct Voat.co News Aggregator. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 16(1), 1302-1311. Retrieved from https://ojs.aaai.org/index.php/ICWSM/article/view/19382