The stock trading platform Robinhood found itself in some serious hot water with Americans all over the country after it effectively shut down trading of various stocks that had become popular during a recent stock market revolution spurred on by the subreddit r/wallstreetbets.
In anger, many users went to the Google Play store and proceeded to leave bad, one-star reviews.
Google began deleting bad reviews until it had deleted around 100,000 of them. Gizmodo reached out to Google to ask why it had done so and received the explanation that the reviews were “coordinated” and “inorganic. When Gizomodo followed up by asking how these reviews were inorganic given the current events, Google stopped responding:
A Google spokesperson confirmed the tech giant has deleted the reviews and defended the move overnight, telling Gizmodo over email that it has rules against “coordinated or inorganic reviews.” Gizmodo asked how negative reviews could be deemed “inorganic” when people seem reasonably upset about Robinhood’s actions in recent days. Google stopped responding to Gizmodo’s emails after that inquiry.
Robinhood’s rating on the Google Play app store has rebounded to over four stars since Google deleted the negative reviews. The app also has a 4.7 rating on Apple’s app store, though it’s not clear what kind of moderation Apple has done of its reviews for Robinhood this week.
It’s a pretty common practice for stores to delete false submissions from users giving a bad review to a product simply because they have a grudge against a company but in this case, the anger against the product was, without a doubt, justified.
If customers want to leave a bad review because they believe the company is going to keep you from interacting with things that are important to you and that you entrusted to it, such as your money, then customers should be able to write a review letting others know what this app fails at.
In this case, Robinhood failed at allowing people to buy and trade stocks in order to manipulate the market.
If customers are against this and want to warn others away from it, then that should be allowed. In fact, that’s the entire point of a customer review section of a site.
The real question is, why is Google running defense for Robinhood?