After Robinhood restricted trading and cost many of their retail investors any gains they might have made as they tried to save GameStop from a prospective short, the investors were furious that the company stopped their free market trading.
The investors have now filed multiple lawsuits against Robinhood, as we reported, claiming Robinhood was trying to manipulate the market and protect the hedge funds.
But they tried to strike back at Robinhood in another way, with giving them a slew of one star reviews in the Google Play Store. More than 100,000 such reviews flooded in an hour, driving its average ratings down to 1.1 stars out of 5. On Apple it’s still at 4.8. It had been one of the most popular apps on Apple because of everything going on with GameStop, until Robinhood restricted trading.
That reduced rating can drive the app down and cost them big time.
But then, Big Tech struck, and Google swept in, removing all the 100,000 negative reviews that had come in for the app. That brought their rating back up into the 4 range where it had been before all the furor hit.
So basically the effort to register the investor’s displeasure was wiped out.
Now normally such things have a spam response to companies in the news and Google relied on that in trying to justify their action. Google says it “combines human intelligence with machine learning to detect and enforce policy violations in ratings and reviews. That it specifically took action on reviews that it felt violated those spamming policies. But in this case, these apparently were unhappy customers, when you wipe them out, you’re actually wiping out legitimate (albeit unhappy) reviews. It’s not the same thing as registering a spam negative because you’re disturbed about something else, in this case it is their service they were upset with.
Sure is nice to have Big Tech come in and protect you from honest reviews.
Meanwhile, Robinhood tried to smooth things over, announcing that they would allow limited buying tomorrow on the securities in questions. But that they would monitor the situation and might make adjustments as needed. They claimed the decision to restrict trade was “a risk-management decision, and was not made on the direction of the market makers we route to.”
So we’ll have to see what happens tomorrow. But so far this has all been a fascinating saga in trying to fight the elite and promises more volatility tomorrow.