By Stephen Gandel

2 February 2021 / 6:54 a.m.
/ MoneyWatch

Moderators of the WallStreetBets online discussion forum, which has been credited with the frenzy in the stocks of GameStop and others, said bots are responsible for a “large chunk” of the stock recommendation content posted on its popular Reddit group

Bots are computer-generated accounts that post automatic messages on Reddit, Twitter, and other social media platforms

In a statement to CBS MoneyWatch, a spokesman for the popular Reddit group described the bot activity as “recent” and said the group had done its best to remove the posts

“We saw a huge amount of bot activity on the subreddit,” said the WallStreetBets spokesman. “We can’t speak to the source, but we’ve seen our car host recently blocked a lot of posts that were content-wise were very similar to “

The speaker declined to provide an example of any of the bot posts or what percentage of activity in the WallStreetBets discussion group could be attributed to bots The speaker did not identify his name, but the comment was on CBS MoneyWatch from an email listed as the official press account for WallStreetBets on Reddit

There is evidence that the chatter on WallStreetBets is increasingly being driven by bots, rather than real investors. Ben Hunt, a former hedge fund manager and co-founder of Wall Street research firm Epsilon Theory, tweeted Saturday that his company was Jan.Analyzed 000 posts published on WallStreetBets in the last 24 hours – 97% of which appeared to be generated by bots

It is not exactly clear what information the bots post on WallStreetBets, however, bot programmers on Twitter and elsewhere have been known to post the same message multiple times from multiple bogus accounts to reinforce their message

On Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission said it had been monitoring the “extreme price volatility in trading prices of certain stocks over the past few days” and that the regulator would act “to protect retail investors when the facts are abusive or manipulative”Trading activity that is prohibited under federal securities laws”

The SEC statement said nothing about bots and did not name Reddit or WallStreetBet’s investors must not misrepresent themselves to move stock prices, although it is not clear whether the use of bots itself is illegal

A warning to Investorgov, the SEC’s education page, warns individuals not to buy stocks based solely on recommendations in discussion boards “A person can easily create the illusion of widespread interest in a small, thinly traded stock by they published numerous messages under various aliases, “the warning reads

The GameStop saga has been labeled a battle between Main Street and Wall Street, and in the past few days, a growing number of people on Reddit, Twitter, and other platforms have anonymously directed others to buy shares in GameStop and other stocks, encouraged on Friday a billboard in New York’s Times Square asking people to buy shares in GameStop

A Reddit user paid for this billboard in Times Square and then put it on TikTok $ GME is the GameStop stock symbol, “BRR” is the sound made when money is printed on ImageTwittercom / bqQD8fRskh

But WallStreetBets seems to remain the nexus of unusual market activity. Membership in the Reddit group has grown rapidly in the past two weeks As of Monday morning, the Reddit forum had nearly 8 million members, up from around 2 million two weeks ago >

First published on 1 February 2021 / 1:18 p.m.

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Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/wallstreetbets-reddit-bot-activity/