Google has deleted at least 100,000 negative reviews of the stock trading app Robinhood from the Google Play app store, cracking down on angry users ‘review-bombing’ the app en masse, while Facebook took down a popular trading group from its platform for allegedly violating its rules on “adult sexual exploitation,” as both major tech companies attempted to deal with the fallout of the social media-fueled rally of several volatile stocks including Gamestop.
Google’s move came after more than 100,000 Android phone users left angry 1-star reviews on Robinhood’s app — pulling its aggregate score down to 1 out of 5 stars — following its decision to halt the trading of several popular but volatile stocks including Gamestop which have seen an unprecedented social media-fuelled rally in the past week.
After Google’s action, the app’s average review score is now back up to 4.3 stars out of five but the total number of reviews has dropped from over 300,000 to around 177,000.
According to Gizmodo, Google claimed it had taken action against “coordinated or inorganic reviews,” although the company reportedly refused to answer questions on how it deemed a review as inorganic — Forbes has also reached out to Google for a comment.
In a separate move, Facebook took down popular a trading discussion group, Robinhood Stock Traders (no affiliation with the Robinhood app) for allegedly violating the social media platforms policy on “adult sexual exploitation.”
The group’s creator Allen Tran, a 23-year-old from Chicago, dismissed Facebook’s reasoning telling Reuters that his group was removed as Facebook was not a “free platform like Reddit,” and in a separate Facebook post he alleged that “the major institutions are attempting to silence our community.”
Forbes has reached out to Facebook for a comment, although a company spokesperson told Reuters that the removal was “unrelated to the ongoing stock frenzy.”
Wall Street and online brokerage platform Robinhood faced online backlash and lawsuits after several online platforms suspended or severely restricted the trading of several stocks like GameStop and AMC which had seen an unprecedented social media-backed rally. The actions prompted a rare moment of bipartisanship where both Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress attacked Robinhood and Wall Street ‘elites’ and called for a congressional hearing on Thursday’s incident. The entire saga began over a week ago when a group of online traders, many of whom gather on Reddit’s r/wallstreetbets forum, began mass purchasing stocks that have been heavily shorted and are “fundamentally hated” by hedge funds, starting with video game retailer GameStop. The buying frenzy boosted GameStop’s share price from around $43 last week all the way up to $347 on Wednesday, an eight-fold increase. Soon, other shorted stocks including AMC, BlackBerry, and Nokia witnessed similar action with varying degrees of success. The whole thing was put to a halt on Thursday as Robinhood and several other online brokerage platforms curbed or suspended the trading of the stocks in question. Owing to this action, GameStop tanked 44% while AMC’s stock dropped close to 56% by the end of trading on Thursday.
Google’s venture capital arm GV invested an undisclosed amount in Robinhood in an early seed funding round in 2013 that saw the stock trading platform raise $3 million.
Google Deletes 100,000 Negative Reviews of Robinhood App From Angry Users (Gizmodo)
Robinhood Faces Anger, Class-Action Suits And Political Pushback After Curbing Trade Of GameStop (Forbes)
Robinhood’s Trading Freeze Unites Political Foes From Cruz To Warren — And They’re All Angry (Forbes)