Elon Musk is the wealthiest man walking the surface of this planet. The 50-year-old always has surprises up his sleeves and there’s no denying that. Musk pulled off another superb publicity stunt when he bought a 9.2% stake in Twitter. It seems Musk’s Tesla has been using bots since 2013 to manipulate the stock market.
A report by The Los Angeles Times states Twitter bots have been promoting Tesla for a long time. One of the most contentious aspects of social media is how much power a single person has over how others perceive real-world events. The explosion of trending topics and hashtags on Twitter, in particular, can lead to accusations of market manipulation.
Elon Musk has been accused of causing market disruptions with careless tweets, but fresh evidence suggests that he may have been employing Twitter bots to purposefully manipulate Tesla stock prices. According to a research by The Los Angeles Times, automated accounts, or bots, wrote over 30,000 Tweets applauding “positive” emotions about Tesla over the span of seven years, beginning in 2013.
After monitoring more than 186 Tesla-focused bots, researchers David A. Kirsch, professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, and his assistant, Moshen Chowdhury, discovered that after the debut of each, Tesla’s stock rose by more than 2%. The tweets are said to have started after Tesla was struck by a negative news cycle in 2013 after tales of the company’s cars catching fire for drivers. Times reporter Russ Mitchel discussed the revelation.
Using a software program called Botometer that social media researchers use to distinguish bot accounts from human accounts, the pair found that a fifth of the volume of tweets about Tesla were bot-generated. That’s not out of line with giants like Amazon and Apple, but their bots tended to push the stock market and tech stocks in general, with those companies as leaders, but not focus on any particular narrative about the companies.
Despite the fact that Tesla’s stock rose in tandem with Musk’s personal worth during the 2010s, the company lost an estimated $5.7 billion during the same time period, according to the research – an unusual disparity. The news comes as Musk has been making headlines for his recent purchase of Twitter shares, putting him in control of the company.
Despite early rumors, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said this week that Musk will not be joining the company’s Board of Directors. Analysts have pointed out that if Musk were to join the Board of Directors, he would only be able to own a 14.9 percent share in the company. Twitter was down roughly 35% year over year as of Tuesday afternoon. During the same time frame, Tesla’s stock increased by 42%.
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