Day Traders Face Massive Pushback From Social Media, Investment Platforms

Discord shuts down server used by WallStreetBets, citing hate speech

Financial Markets Wall Street
A screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows the closing number for the Dow Jones industrial average / AP
January 28, 2021

Major social media and investment platforms are quashing a retail stock trading boom, following massive spikes in the stock price of GameStop, AMC Theaters, and other companies.

The voice-chat platform Discord on Wednesday shuttered a server used by members of WallStreetBets, the Reddit forum that observed Wall Street hedge funds were shorting GameStop—betting that the stock would decline. The forum claims 3 million users.

Retail investment platform Robinhood canceled overnight orders of AMC and GameStop stocks, as well as Bed, Bath, & Beyond and Nokia, and delisted them from further trading. The company bills itself as a platform for "democratizing finance." In December of last year, it paid $65 million to settle charges that it failed to disclose payments from trading firms for routing customer orders to them.

The moves from Discord and Robinhood come amid rising discontent with how mainstream tech institutions approach moderation on their platforms. Both tech companies billed themselves as anti-establishment avenues for gamers (Discord) and retail traders (Robinhood) to circumvent more tightly regulated venues.

Discord cited "occasional content that violates our Community Guidelines, including hate speech" in explaining its actions against WallStreetBets.

"The server has been on our Trust & Safety team’s radar for some time due to occasional content that violates our Community Guidelines, including hate speech, glorifying violence, and spreading misinformation," the statement, in part, reads. After multiple warnings, "we decided to remove the server and its owner from Discord for continuing to allow hateful and discriminatory content after repeated warnings."

Discord also insists the ban is unrelated to the spike in the share price of GameStop and other companies, although "we are monitoring this situation and in the event there are allegations of illegal activities, we will cooperate with authorities as appropriate."

WallStreetBets moderator "zjz" countered that appropriate measures were taken to block hate speech, adding, "Discord did us dirty and I am not impressed with them destroying our community instead of stepping in with the wrench we may have needed to fix things, especially after we got over 1,000 server boosts. That is pretty unethical."

Robinhood did not respond to a request for comment. Discord redirected the Washington Free Beacon to its official statement.