A new study has emerged monitoring cryptocurrency information that spreads through subreddits. The study examines how incorrect information is displayed as fact, and how this data can potentially impact the prices of various cryptocurrencies.
Reddit Is a Haven for False Info
One of the authors, Svitlana Volkova, presented her findings at this year’s Web Conference in San Francisco, California. She comments:
Cryptocurrency is a very good proxy program for disinformation.
The study, arguably, has its roots in the same ideas presented by U.S. President Donald Trump, who repeatedly says that information from both social and mainstream media platforms is fake. It appears many writers and news platforms are only publishing what they want their readers to think and hear, but there isn’t necessarily truth to what’s being said.
This is dangerous in the sense that it misleads people. It leads them to believe the wrong data and can push negativity in the futures of various topics, in this case digital assets.
Disinformation has been a big topic as of late, what with the presidential elections of both 2016 and 2020 in the U.S. Sadly, it’s sometimes difficult to develop algorithms or serious methods regarding what’s true and what isn’t in mainstream media. Thus, the study found it much easier to see what’s incorrect on Reddit. Overall, several thousand comments were monitored on bitcoin, Ethereum and other altcoin-based subreddits over the course of three years (between 2015 and 2018) by Volkova and her co-authors.
Among the steps they took were checking to see how much volume these subreddits generated. They also examined how many people were leaving comments and how many individual people were involved. Not surprisingly, bitcoin proved to be the most popular topic amongst cryptocurrency participants. They noticed that as many as 3,600 separate messages and comments were posted to Reddit about bitcoin each day. Ethereum was in second place with 500 messages, while Monero was in third place with 380.
However, Ethereum comments boasted the largest lifetimes, while Monero-centered messages had the longest “median lifetimes.” It was also discovered that Monero was five times more likely to generate commentary.
These social signals are quite useful, and by incorporated them with machine and deep learning, we intend to build predictive models that hit on casual relationships between different variables, so we can explain model decision-making processes.
More Data Is Coming Our Way
The team is now working on various follow-up studies to see how this disinformation ultimately spreads to platforms like Twitter and Git Hub. Volkova mentions:
Mitigation is harder. We have the models right now that can detect disinformation and can say, ‘OK, look, this is not true. This is false or misleading.’ We can make the audience aware of the way disinformation spreads, but then we have to somehow coordinate with the social platform providers to actually make a difference.