Major social media platforms have seen an influx of bots hyping up GameStop and other popular social media stocks, according to a new analysis. Massachusetts-based cyber security company PiiQ Media has said that “organized economic or foreign actors” may have played a role in the Reddit frenzy, Reuters reported last week.
If true, it would mean that Congress very likely hauled all the wrong people in to give testimony this month (surprise, surprise).
Reddit Chief Executive Steve Huffman told congress this month that bots didn’t play a “significant role” in any of the GameStop traffic on Reddit’s site. He said the same about artificial or fake accounts with automated content.
However, PiiQ Media’s analysis of Twitter Inc, Facebook Inc, Instagram and YouTube posts showed that bots were used on each of the respective platforms. It is unclear how much or how little of an effect they had in the price action, Reuters reported. The firm did not analyze Reddit but said they would “expect to see a similar pattern” if they did.
As part of their analysis, PiiQ Media looked into key words and phrases like “hold the line” and GME’s stock symbol. It compared instances and usages prior to the January 28 chaos through February 18. It compared these to posts on an “unrelated” set of stocks. The firm said it found similar daily “start and stop patterns” in the posts. Activity would start near the beginning of the trading day and would ramp at the end of the trading day.
This is indicative of bots, PiiQ’s CTO, Aaron Barr, said, telling Reuters: “We saw clear patterns of artificial behavior across the other four social media platforms. When you think of organic content, it’s variable in the day, variable day-to-day. It doesn’t have the exact same pattern every day for a month.”
PiiQ estimated there are “tens of thousands” of boys hyping GameStock, meme stock and Dogecoin. The firm said thousands of fake accounts can be bought for as little as $200.