Purpose: This paper aims to expand the emerging literature on COVID-19 and the financial markets by searching for a relationship between the uncertainty of the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic experienced through social media and the extreme volatility of the Italian stock market. Design/methodology/approach: The authors analyze the relationship between social media and stock market trends during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic through the lens of social theory and Baudrillard's simulacra and hyperreality theory. The authors conducted the data analysis in two phases: the emotional and Granger correlation analysis by using the KPI6 software to analyze 3,275,588 tweets for the predominant emotion on each day and observe its relationship with the stock market. Findings: The research results show a significant Granger causality relation between tweets on a particular day and the closing price of the FTSE MIB during the first phase of the COVID-19 epidemic. The results highlight a strong relationship between social media hyperreality and the real world. The study confirms the role of social media in predicting stock market volatility. Research limitations/implications: The findings have theoretical and practical implications as they reveal the relevance of social media in our society and its relationship with businesses and economies. In an emergency, social media, as an expression of users' feelings and emotions, can generate a state of hyperreality that is strong correlated with reality. Since social media allows users to publish and share messages without any filter and mediation, the hyperreality generated is affected by highly subjective elements. Originality/value: This research is different from the previous ones on the same topic because unlike previous studies, conducted under normal or simulated scenarios, this study is focused on the first phase of an unpredictable and unforeseen emergency event: the COVID-19 pandemic. This research adopts a multidisciplinary approach and integrates previous studies on the economic and financial effects generated by social media by applying well-known theories to a new and unexplored context. The study reveals the significant impact generated by social media on stock markets during a global pandemic.
Emotions, moods and hyperreality: social media and the stock market during the first phase of COVID-19 pandemic / Lazzini, A.; Lazzini, S.; Balluchi, F.; Mazza, M.. - In: ACCOUNTING, AUDITING & ACCOUNTABILITY JOURNAL. - ISSN 1368-0668. - 35:1(2022), pp. 199-215. [10.1108/AAAJ-08-2020-4786]