In mid-January 2021, an unprecedented event took place: users of an online Reddit community called r/wallstreetbets were able to play a primary role in orchestrating the short squeeze of GameStop shares. This event represents a paramount example of collective coordination action on social media, resulting in large-scale consensus formation and significant market impact. In this work, researchers Anna Mancini, Antonio Desiderio, Riccardo Di Clemente, and Giulio Cimini characterize the structure and time evolution of Reddit conversation data, showing the occurrence and sentiment of GME-related comments increased significantly before the short squeeze took place.
Starting from a hypothesis of peer imitation, to qualitatively describe the phenomenon observed, they introduce a model of opinion formation simulating a situation where an individual’s opinion is influenced both by first neighbors and the global state of the community. This work provides insight into some of the key features of online processes concerning large-scale consensus formation.
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