Written by Nick Heer.

Tesla-Supporting ‘Bots’

Russ Mitchell, Los Angeles Times:

Kirsch and Chowdhury tracked 186 Tesla-related bot accounts and found that after each was launched, the company’s stock appreciated more than 2%. (They looked at the average stock return for the week previous to the bot’s creation and for the week following.) While Tesla’s market value has increased over the years, the price has seen dramatic ups and downs. The periods around bot creation showed sharp increases, but outside those windows, trading was far more volatile, Chowdhury said.

“This isn’t a causal relationship, but it does raise questions,” Kirsch said, about why there’s a correlation that does not appear to be random. “We’re trying to understand the mechanism. It can’t be just a bunch of tweets that push the stock. People have to notice them, interpret them and act on them.”

The researchers are looking at the timing of the tweets and options activity in the overnight stock market, among other factors. One big unknown: whether the bots are the work of entities with a direct financial interest in Tesla.

This report is very hand-wavy; the above three paragraphs are the closest it gets to a narrative more concrete than seemingly automated Twitter accounts commenting on stories about Musk or Tesla. These apparent bots are not listed anywhere I can see, though Mitchell reports an article about this will be released by Kirsch and Chowdhury in June, so perhaps a better picture will emerge around then.

Even so, I would be cautious about forming any particular narrative around this story. There is no indication of meaningful activity around these automated accounts, and “Twitter bots” seems like one of those phrases foundational to building mountains out of molehills.