Self-organizing fraud (or plain old fraud)?



Russ Mitchell writing for the LA Times:
Whether Twitter bots are being deliberately programmed to manipulate stock trading is among the questions that Kirsch and his research assistant, Moshen Chowdhury, are trying to answer.
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A Twitter bot is a fake account, programmed to scour the social media site for specific posts or news content — Musk’s posts, for example — and respond with relevant, preprogrammed tweets: “Tremendous long term growth prospects” or “Why Tesla stock is rallying today” or “Tesla’s Delivery Miss Was ‘Meaningless.’” The bots can also be programmed to send nasty or threatening messages to company critics.

Kirsch and Chowdhury collected and reviewed Tesla-related tweets from 2010, when the company went public, to the end of 2020.

Over that period, Tesla lost an accumulated $5.7 billion, even as its stock soared and Musk became one of the richest humans on the planet; his net worth is estimated at $275 billion. Operational results can’t justify anything close to the company’s $1-trillion market value, based on any kind of traditional stock-pricing metric.

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Using a software program called Botometer that social media researchers use to distinguish bot accounts from human accounts, the (Read more...)