A group called Robinhood Stock Traders lost out to the sheriff — in this case, Facebook. The social media site removed the group from the platform and later restored it without explanation, according to Reuters.
The group is similar to those on other social media sites, like Reddit, that have helped foment chaos in the stock market for wealthy hedge funds.
Facebook prevented all 157,000 members of Robinhood Stock Traders from accessing their Facebook channel, according to Reuters. The site alleged without detail that members of the group had broken the platform's policies on “adult sexual exploitation.”
Allen Tran, the now-23-year-old creator of Robinhood Stock Traders called Facebook’s move to ban the group an “unjustified response to conversations that have buoyed shares in GameStop Corp and other companies,” summarized Reuters. “[He also remarked that] he has never seen adult content on the Facebook group.”
Tran told Reuters the group consisted of some users who had made tens of thousands of dollars from sharing advice and trading stocks in companies like GameStop, AMC and Blackberry. These companies had surged as a result of Reddit users who used the discussion-based forum to massively upend the hedge fund strategy of short selling stocks.
Investors short sell stocks by “borrowing it from someone else, selling it and, hopefully, repurchasing it at a lower price later,” according to Popular Information newsletter writer and former ThinkProgress Editor-in-Chief Judd Legum. Because investors are “borrowing” stocks from other people, they have to eventually return them, which is why investors generally buy the stocks back at a lower price.
“‘We were first on the picking tree to be cut off because we are on Facebook, not a free platform like Reddit,’ said Tran, referring to the typically lighter moderation on the discussion website,” Reuters reported. Reddit never banned the r/WallStreetBets subreddit, but other Big Tech companies haven’t been as shy when it comes to defending the interests of the wealthy hedge funds. Not only did stock trading apps like Robinhood, WeBull and others stop letting users trade these stocks, but Discord, a messaging app, banned the r/WallStreetBets server, according to The Verge. Then when Robinhood customers flocked to the Google App store to give the company poor reviews, Google shielded Robinhood by deleting at least 100,000 negative reviews about the company.
Despite claiming the removal of Robinhood Stock Traders had nothing to do with the ongoing chaos in the stock market and everything to do with violations of its policy against sexual exploitation, Facebook reportedly lifted its ban on the group days later, according to the New York Post.
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