Facebook has shut down the Robin Hood Stock Traders group that has some 157,000 members, in the middle of a trading war between individual investors and hedge funds.
Centering around companies like GameStop and AMC, whose stock hedge funds have been shorting convinced they would lose value, this “war” is for the moment being lost by them because individuals are coordinating online, buying these shares and driving the prices up.
And despite the fact that retail traders gather and exchange information on this and other forums online, and trade using the Robinhood app, Facebook said applying extreme censorship against the group – removing it altogether – was “unrelated to the ongoing stock frenzy.”
Instead, the reason cited was the good old “violation of community standards.”
A spokeswoman would not elaborate on this when asked by Reuters, but the group’s creator, Allan Tran, received a notification from Facebook that he shared with the news agency which said the violation had to do with adult sexual exploitation. Again, no further details.
This was news to Tran, who said he never saw such content on the Facebook group and believes groups like his are targeted to help institutional investors who are losing money in the current turmoil.
Tran may not have done the group or those gathering there any service when he spoke for the Wall Street Journal recently, attracting attention to it as the largest among similar online communities.
“They are trying to target any groups they can,” he told Reuters speaking of major institutions who are now agitated by the situation, and revealed this was not the first time Facebook had targeted Robin Hood Stock Traders: on January 7, it was slapped with a “dangerous organization” label, but this was later revoked and the group reinstated when Tran “appealed to contacts there.”
He is also under the impression that Reddit is a free platform, because WallStreetBets subreddit is still online there, implying that those unhappy with the developments around trading in GameStop and other similar shares are going after groups on the censorship-friendly Facebook first.
Tran runs another group – a much smaller, 20,000-member HaiKhuu Trading on Discord, and has set up a new group on Facebook – but fears that that one, too, will eventually be shut down.