Robinhood prohibited its users this week from buying stocks in a number of companies, including GameStop, Nokia, and BlackBerry, after they had been invested in by a group of amateur traders, resulting in billions of dollars worth of losses for Wall Street hedge fund short-sellers.
Several members of Congress, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI 13th District), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY 14th District), have publicly called for an official hearing over Robinhood’s actions.
Robinhood stepped in and made what they called “risk management decision” to block the purchasing of stocks being made unusually popular thanks to the r/WallStreetBets subreddit, its app on Google Play was inundated with reviews from unsatisfied customers.
Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev is facing a heavy backlash after he attempted to defend his trading app’s decision to stop users from buying certain stocks, claiming it had “no choice.”
Tenev was interrogated by CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Thursday amid the Robinhood-GameStop stocks controversy, with the CEO claiming his decision was made to adhere to vague “regulatory requirements” and not to protect wealthy hedge funds that were shorting the stocks.
Tenev concluded by denying that Robinhood took action on the orders of any other market entity, and again blamed the decision on unspecified requirements.
Viewers were not convinced by Tenev’s excuses, however, lambasting the CEO in CNN’s YouTube comments, with some accusing him of “lying” and “dodging every single question.”
The app’s near-perfect rating stumbled to just one star on Thursday after over 100,000 reviews came in. Google has now deleted enough of those reviews, however, that the app’s rating has jumped to over four stars (out of five).
Google admitted to actively deleting the reviews, as they violate a policy the company has on reviews that are published specifically to manipulate a company’s overall rating.