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Robinhood now has a 1-Star rating on the Google Play Store (play.google.com)
1177 points by sschueller 12 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 523 comments



For pointers to other vertices of this story graph, see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25933543.

The current thread is paginated like all the other big threads (to spare our poor server—yes, we're working on it). If you want to see all the comments you'll need to click through the More links at the bottom, or like this:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25947697&p=2

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25947697&p=3

(and so on)


(This is a stub reply so I can collapse the various comments responding to this, so as not to distract too much from the topic at hand. (Sorry, non-JS users.))


The HN server has been so faithful to us. I hope it's feeling better soon.


What exactly is the issue? (if you can share)


HN's application server runs on a single core.

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&sor...


How many simultaneous visitors can HN handle with that single core?


You can also add YouTube-dl and GitHub.


You mean to comments about Robinhood on those sites? Links would be helpful.

Edit: I don't think I'm following you.


Where can I find HN backend architecture?


probably a reasonable starting point: http://arclanguage.org/


thanks!


Thank you!


One of the good things I see coming out of Robinhood blocking trading, Twitter and Reddit booting problematic users, Parler getting vaporized, etc. is a sudden realization amongst people of just how easily major parts of their lives can be instantly turned off by intermediaries.

My hope is that this will drive a reformist movement around digital rights (speech, commerce, etc.) As well as a movement from platforms to protocols.


There was a relevant document posted earlier today at this link: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25942632.

"Protocols, Not Platforms: A Technological Approach to Free Speech (2019)"

Article subtitle:

> Altering the internet's economic and digital infrastructure to promote free speech

I am somewhat skeptical of crypto, but I do hope that the DeFi ecosystem, 20 years in the future, will act as a democratizing force for financial markets.


DeFi is a core component of my ETH bull hypothesis. All this decentralized activity requires the purchase of ETH to pay for/transact on.


I'm skeptical of the idea that availability of decentralized services should be dependent on the activity of a market driving it. If for some reason, something unfavorable were to happen with that market, the services tied to it would be in jeopardy.

That seems like a terrifying point of failure to have, unless I'm misunderstanding how it works.

Perhaps a parallel here is: if the fiat markets are struggling, then small businesses may struggle and lack the business they need to sustain themselves due to economic fears and self-preservation, but that business can exist in some form without the market through free trade or other means of currency or agreements to provide products and services, not beholden to the mercy of a volatile, inaccessible digital system that the vast majority of people don't understand very well.


It requires some way to fund it, but that needn't necessarily be ETH. It also well could be, and they have first mover advantage. But, and it's a big but, I think the most important thing people who know much about crypto forget is:

Other people are not like you. Most people have still never even heard of Etherium. Most people won't touch something like that without explicit approval from a government. Which, obviously, is somewhat contrary to the point.

I think the real long term (20+ years) winners in this space will gracefully marry the old world with the new, until society has gotten used to these concepts and we can slowly deprecate some of the centralization.


> Most people have still never even heard of Ethereum

This statement was true in 2016, 2018 and 2021. The difference being the momentum - a LOT more people have heard of Ethereum now than back then. I think you might be underestimating the network effect that Ethereum has in the space. All the tooling, beginner-friendly tutorials/books/blogs, institutions and funds flowing into the projects, the sheer number of people working on projects is super impressive.

For anything else to catch up with Ethereum, it's going to take a lot more than "being better technologically". Ethereum currently does have major scaling issues but the community is converging on the "rollups" Layer-2 solutions [1] as a temporary option until it gets added into Eth2. So I suspect the next few months will be a little rough but things like Matic.network or Optimism will start maturing.

[1] https://ethereum-magicians.org/t/a-rollup-centric-ethereum-r...


By most people I genuinely mean "most people" I sincerely doubt more than 50% of people in the US have heard of ETH, much less globally.

So, yeah, sticking by that statement.


And I agree with that statement.

I just think it's similar to some of the earlier internet days like shopping online or sending emails - in its early days most people did not know much about these concepts except for the tech community and early adopters.


Except for the fact that eth transaction fees are insane and will only increase if popularity does. DeFi is DOA.


No, DeFi will simply migrate to L2 solutions as they become viable.


Yeah, funny how the solution to all the inherent problems with blockchains is to move off the blockchain. The future of "DeFi" is centralization.


You are a bit out of date on your assumptions. You can read further here: https://vitalik.ca/general/2021/01/05/rollup.html


A viable L2 is one that is properly decentralized, though its consensus mechanism need not replicate the mechanism of L1.


Solana seems like a better fit for DeFi than ETH. It is also much higher performance, which is very important for DeFi.

Disclaimer: I don't hold solana or ETH.


But how can you get rich with protocols instead of platforms?


Throwing this out there, too: assorted government restrictions and lockdowns imposed by regional public health officials. The early ones were more justified because we knew less, but as the pandemic drug on, the burden of proof justifying closures needed to increase, and legislators needed to step up and legitimize the policies. It's like how the president can wage war for 90 days, but then has to get approval from congress.


Especially in states like California. My rich friends can and continue to travel. My friends in the service sector are at home collecting a meager unemployment. It doesn’t jibe well with the ethos CA proudly proclaims. They shutdown outdoor dining and even playgrounds while Costco, Amazon warehouses and Best Buy can be packed. We also know and have data that masks work but salons were closed. (A case in Texas comes to mind where a barber had covid but didn’t pass it to any of the 45 clients because they wore masks). What was way more important was good ventilation and indoor masking.

In general social psychology have to be factored in as well. Anecdotally speaking, shutting down outdoor dining pushed more people to party at home.


No, we don't have data that masks are protective in a salon situation where people are in close contact for a long time. I wouldn't trust the masks that most people are using (surgical masks with half-inch gaps on either side and quarter-inch gaps around the nose, or single-layer cloth masks) to protect me in that scenario.


Agreed. An important thing to remember about the salon story mentioned above is that it is not 45 independent exposure experiments. Some people never shed much virus, or the stylist might not have been shedding very much on that particular day. If you tracked 45 different infected stylists, each working with one client, you might get very different results. This one story definitely does not prove you are safe at a salon as long as you are wearing a mask! (Although please do wear one if you must go).


For clarity here, the barber wearing the mask protects others. This stops larger droplets, spittle, etc from easily reaching others.

Non-n95 masks / etc don't filter much when breathing in. We wear masks to protect others...


I'm with you on this. It's shameful that Congress and State Legislatures have abdicated power to executive functionaries indefinitely. We're closing in on D-Day+1 year and our deliberative bodies have yet to deliberate our public health policies (although Congress has proven they can stimulate demand for consumer goods, from time to time).


The closures were tied to ICU overflow capacity which seems a reasonable policy to me.

Unfortunately what and how things were closed seemed haphazard and not entirely justified or communicated effectively.

There should have been more contact tracing and a focus to close only areas prone to spreading Covid-19.


It's not about reasonableness as much as it's about officials enacting the policy unilaterally. Twitter disabling Trump's account might be reasonable, but it was a pretty unilateral decision.


We needed to put more people at risk because we couldn’t prove that they would get sick?


It's worse then that.

We need to put more people at risk, because we can't meet some nebulous, ever-shifting standard that asks us to trade human lives for dollars of economic activity. Nobody wants to pin down exactly how many dollars they think a human life is worth, though.

On the one hand, we've got every special interest group under the sun loudly shouting that their business is special, and must be allowed to operate as if nothing has changed over the past year.

On the other hand, we've got public health - a communal good, that everyone is responsible for, but nobody gets held responsible for.


At the risk of sounding like an "I told you so" type of person, it is frustrating to speak out and see others speak out about future consequences of these kinds of actions, only to be drowned out by people liberally applying the slippery slope fallacy argument.


I've never understood how a slippery slope argument is a fallacy, let alone a logical fallacy (like false syllogism or no true scotsman). The idea is essentially looking at current trends and extrapolating into the future. No prediction is necessarily correct, but it's not necessarily wrong either.


The other comment has it, but two ways to think about it. "If I have one glass of water I might have another. Then another. And so on until I drown myself."

The main one though is assuming the parties cant adjust course part way though. "If we turn this ship this way we will crash into that island in two days!"

Extropolation is different as it takes into a account changes in behaviour and real world constraints


Yes, the extrapolation is often applied to people who really want to achieve one thing going in a particular direction, so it makes sense there. "You want to do X which is not terrible evil in itself, but if we let you, you'll want to do more things like X so we don't want that precedent"


That’s because it’s not automatically a fallacy. That’s a huge misconception.

> Logic and critical thinking textbooks typically discuss slippery slope arguments as a form of fallacy but usually acknowledge that "slippery slope arguments can be good ones if the slope is real—that is, if there is good evidence that the consequences of the initial action are highly likely to occur. The strength of the argument depends on two factors. The first is the strength of each link in the causal chain; the argument cannot be stronger than its weakest link. The second is the number of links; the more links there are, the more likely it is that other factors could alter the consequences."


It's because it's not an argument about the thing itself, it's an argument about a speculative thing that might happen. You can rebut it by just saying "but that won't happen". So using it in an argument kinda inherently gets you into an unprovable realm.


In various avenues where it commonly appears (guns, gay marriage, speech, privacy, etc) it's particularly unhelpful because the US typically lags other western nations on this stuff.

So an opposition that relies on "what if" scenarios to oppose progressive change is often one which is either unaware-of or has explicitly looked at other nations that are 10-50 years ahead on whatever the policy is, and discovered that enacting step X did not, in fact, lead to a downward spiral into nightmare scenario Y.


The problem is in how people use it.

If I say it's a slippery slope from A to B, what that's supposed to mean is that A being true will increase the risk of B becoming true if other things happen as well.

How it's often used though is that if A is a slippery slope to B then A is equivalent to B, and thus any issue with B is an unavoidable issue for A. And of course it gets worse when people jump from A to Z.


When you do it, it's the slippery slope logical fallacy. When I do it, it's logical induction, a necessary component of reasoning about the world.


But if everyone started correctly applying logical induction for every piece of reasoning, we'd all become mindless robotic automata, hardly better than giant abacuses, and art, hope and love would die.


> logical induction, a necessary component of reasoning about the world

Bah! You're only saying that because induction worked the last n times ;)


It's not a fallacy. It's more like a "logic smell" that means you should look closer to see if the arguer is jumping to conclusions. If they are you should still investigate, e.g. the chain of events they are describing may have actually happened in history or could be related from personal experience. Affording them merit based on that is probably questionable in terms of formal logic, but it might not be unwise.


Everyone uses slippery slope reasoning in their personal lives, because it's a completely valid form of reasoning in the real world.

Otherwise we'd be fine with the concept of e.g. trying methamphetamine just a few times and then planning to stop.


"Slippery Slope" can be and is used to object to absolutely any action at all.


This argument is a slippery slope implying any comment can be objected.


IMO Slippery slope arguments can definitely be valid. Slippery slope fallacies are failed slippery slope arguments. To successfully argue for the slippery slope, one needs to actually argue that the slope exists and will lead to the ultimate consequence with meaningful certainty. The tactic is so common in sophistry: merely stating A -> B -> C -> D -> "nuclear holocaust" does not make it so.

Like... if an event has an 80% chance of occurring as a result of an action, it seems that the event is highly likely to occur. If this has an 80% chance causing of a different event, which has an 80% chance of a different event, leading to an 80% chance of a different event, the probability of the final event from a point in time before the first event occurred would be 41%.

Arguments are a construction of information intended to induce an understanding of probability among others, and skipping steps along the way weakens trust in that conclusion.


A slippery slope argument assumes the maximum degenerate outcome of sliding down the slope as a certainty, that no one will be able to correct for, mitigate or reverse the slide when it starts. That's what makes it a fallacy - it's a thought terminating cliche meant to eliminate the possibility of nuance, as any middle ground is implicitly part of the slope.

Otherwise, it's just an argument that risk exists, which is obvious and uninteresting.


Or if it's really bad, they make up entirely fanciful slopes that you could fall down.

Does it count as a slippery slope fallacy if the government argues that not stopping encrypted communications will result in terrorists killing your grandma? Because I heard that one a lot when Bush was president and they haven't really ever stopped using it. Is there a better fallacy for that example?


Slippery slope is a valid political tactic for those outside the Overton window.


It's effective, because markets (including the marketplace of ideas) are irrational and bad faith tactics are often more effective at influencing people (at least in the short term) than reason and verifiable fact. I wouldn't consider it valid, though.


"Valid", as in, "it works".


Ok, since it's a fallacy, I have some mountain trails I'd like you to walk today. They are icy, but since it's a fallacy, I doubt you'll fall to your death.


I actually think you are sadly wrong with that hope, as much as I also wish it were true.

Unfortunately, many people (sadly including the far left, who 10 years ago I would have called myself part of) & the media are actively celebrating these blocks and shutdowns because it serves their ideology. For now.


Robinhood was just hit with class action lawsuit over this:

The financial trading app Robinhood is been hit with a federal class action lawsuit after it restricted trades to stocks popular on the Reddit forum r/WallStreetBets, sending Redditors and app users into a meltdown.

The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of New York on Thursday, alleges that the app “purposefully, willfully, and knowingly removing the stock ‘GME’ from its trading platform in the midst of an unprecedented stock rise, thereby deprived [sic] retail investors of the ability to invest in the open-market and manipulating the open-market.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/robinhood-hit-with-class-actio...


I definitely support the notion of moving from platforms to protocols, at least in theory. I do think you're going to run into the need to regulate wherever communication starts impinging on not-purely-informational constructs, like securities.

I really hope that gambling on GME is not a "major part" of a significant number of people's lives.


> I really hope that gambling on GME is not a "major part" of a significant number of people's lives.

It's a major part of the mega wealthy's lives. They've profited in this pandemic and it's not because of the fundamentals. Shorts squeeze the market too much but they ( hedge funds) should be responsible adults and take their losses. Not force Robinhood to unethically force sell it's massive user base to liquidate b/c their system bit their biggest customer.

We're about to see whether the people actually have rights or if this is actually a class warfare situation. I suspect it's the latter.


> I suspect it's the latter.

It's absolutely the latter. GME is a meme stock that people will forget about in 3 months. If 2008 didn't cause anyone to go to jail (where millions lost their houses and retirements), manipulating a short squeeze on a failing company certainly won't.


I was thinking more about being able to trade online, not GME specifically.

TBH 'protocols not platforms' has become kind of a slogan lately, but history doesn't make it look too promising. Email is a protocol, but it has largely been dominated by Google.

A really compelling product can capture a protocol.


Could it be that people are just so used to platforms, that even in the case of the email protocol, they prefer to jump onto the Gmail platform that abstracts away from the protocol and provides a nice, easy to use platform? If so, "protocols, not platforms" remains justified, and proponents might hope that as people get more comfortable with protocols, they will drift away not only from the Facebooks and Twitters of the world, but also the Gmails.

For me personally, even if we end up with large players offering the largest (presumably most product-focused) instances of various protocols (Gmail with email, imagine Tiwtter hosting the largest Mastodon instance, Discord providing Matrix hosting), the fact I have the freedom to federate and set up my own instance or pay a smaller provider that will respect my privacy, is still a much better situation than the current "platforms, no protocols".


For me at least, it's the anti-spam features, and automatic sorting of mail.


Realistically though nothing at this moment can supplant gmail without people willing to move away from gmail. They make it hard for people to do their own thing because they spam filter out legitimate email coming from domains that they don't like.


>but it has largely been dominated by Google.

Maybe anecdotal every company in my experience is on Office 365. Most private people here have hotmail/outlook as they where first before gmail.


True but I just migrated my email away from gmail due to "general google worries" and most colleagues dont realise Ive changed and continue to email me


Set up a redirect for a year or so.

In future use a domain you own as the email address and redirect to your email provider.


> My hope is that this will drive a reformist movement around digital rights (speech, commerce, etc.) As well as a movement from platforms to protocols.

I hope so too and I hope that movement will develop and adopt technological solutions and not advocate for government force. This is an opportunity for people to control their means of communication and create a more robust internet that can better withstand censorship attempts in the future. I fear it will instead be taken advantage of by people who want to increase government control perhaps to prevent competition with the currently dominant actors on the market. Any further normalization of government control of communication or the internet must be resisted if we are to have any chance to keep the truly wonderful thing that the internet is today, despite all its imperfections.


Maybe make Protecting free speech part our governments highest law.

Maybe we could amend the law. Seriously.

Lots of people love to dump on the constitution as old and not relevant. But it’s meant to restrict government and protect people’s freedom.


From my perspective, you just flipped the purpose of 1A.

Right now you have the right to associate or disassociate with whomever you like (protected classes aside). In your altered future, the government forces churches to allow atheists and rival religions to be allowed to speak at the church, despite the desires of the owners and congregation. It would effectively be compelled association.


Nonsense.

Trouble is when government gives out monopolies, or supporting monopolies they like.

Government currently closed side.

Government has chosen atheism as its religion. Very hostile toward other religions. Everyone pays for government school, but want to a Christian education, then you have to pay twice.


I find the monopoly issue troubling, but I don’t understand how your proposal fixes it.

Government schools aren’t atheist - they are secular. They simply aren’t allowed to teach Christianity because Jews and Muslims would have the same “I have to pay twice” complaint you mentioned. Also, what you say about Christian education is factually wrong. There are plenty of places in the USA where you can find a Christian Charter school or use school vouchers.


> Government has chosen atheism as its religion.

All the cash in my wallet says otherwise.


>Government has chosen atheism as its religion

You're gonna want to provide proof of that claim.


That's like saying virginity is a fetish. Atheism is not a religion, it's a lack of belief in a supernatural deity.


It's belief in the lack of a supernatural deity.

Subtle difference, as required by the topic.


I don't go to a building and dance and sing to my belief of no diety.

I do not go and seek out others who believe in the lack of a diety to associate and grow together.

I don't go on to claim wars over the land holy to my belief of no diety.

I don't go on to terrorize my children and tell them they are unloved because they're born in a way that offends my belief in the lack of a diety.

I don't go on to terrorize my neighbors and tell them they are unloved because they offend my belief in the lack of a diety.

I don't go to other people who have different beliefs and tell them they are wrong due to their belief in a diety. And that my belief is the only way they can be saved.

Atheism is NOT a religion, it is not a system of beliefs in any meaningfully comparable way. You can rearrange words all you want, but the difference in result (not word choice) is anything but subtle.


You will find that your statements are easily flipped if you are truly honest in looking for answers.

My intention is not to paint with a wide brush, just to demonstrate that everyone has beliefs, and they manifest in different ways.

>>>>I don't go to a building and dance and sing to my belief of no diety. ( I believe seculars call it a rave.)

>>>>>>I do not go and seek out others who believe in the lack of a diety to associate and grow together. (any number of activities can fall in this category in fact)

>>>>>>I don't go on to claim wars over the land holy to my belief of no diety. (I believe are referring to Bush/Obama nation-building)

>>>>>> I don't go on to terrorize my children and tell them they are unloved because they're born in a way that offends my belief in the lack of a diety. (I believe you are referring to the secular terrorism, that is human-to-human, i.e. calling others "Deplorables" )

>>>>>I don't go on to terrorize my neighbors and tell them they are unloved because they offend my belief in the lack of a diety. (see above)

>>>>>I don't go to other people who have different beliefs and tell them they are wrong due to their belief in a diety. And that my belief is the only way they can be saved. (I believe there is no need to say X is wrong when instead they resort to shut them up #cancelculture)

Atheism is not a religion, but it is a belief system like any other. It may appeal to logical people, but that doesn't make it better or worse. Its just a different way to perceive the world around you.


Not sure how any of that relates to my rearranging the words. I was just making it follow the dictionary definition of atheism more closely, i.e. belief that there is no god.

No more implication than that. It is, however, actively a belief. It's not "I don't care" or "it's different to the one you believe in", or "I don't believe there is a god", it is "I believe there is no god"

Never said atheism was a religion, would never say that because it's objectively false.


That doesn't quite work.

I'm not a stamp collector. Does that mean I lack a stamp collection, or do I have a collection of a lack of stamps?

If I am asymptomatic, is there a lack of symptoms, or is my symptom the lack thereof?


If you believe stamp collectors are the source of all evil in the world, and congregate with other anti-stamp collectors to share your common struggle, maybe.

It's one thing to not believe in unicorns, it's another to define yourself in opposition to unicorn believers, which many atheists do.


That's a good point, and I think it points out the fundamental misunderstanding in the comment I was replying to: conflation of atheism with radical atheism, particularly New Atheism.


My comment didn't mention 'radical' or 'New'. The location of "belief" makes the sentence an accurate description of atheism or not.

Adding 'types' in front of the word just continues us down the path of words not really meaning anything anymore.

Are radical atheists just atheists that act like dicks about it? Don't call them radical atheists, just call them dicks. Is a New Atheist one that does interpretive dance to explain their belief that there is no god? That's just an unlikely combination of two things, one of which is atheism.

Eg. I'm a radical grammarian (a dick when it comes to grammar).


You are stamp agnostic and symptomatic does not imply belief. Can we get back to talking about stonks now?


I don't believe in stonks either :)


True and it points out that the U.S. government position is actually agnosticism, i.e. it does not take a position one way or another on supernatural deities or other religious concepts.


Let me know when churches start paying taxes...


>Everyone pays for government school, but want to a Christian education, then you have to pay twice.

Work with your government to have you taxes assigned to the Christian school. Here in Ontario Canada when you file your taxes you select if your child is attending catholic school and the catholic school board gets revenue equal to the number of people attending.


So the government would force private corporations to let anyone say what they wanted on their sites? And this new sweeping government power would somehow.... restrict the government?

Do you not see how that's contradictory?

And what would it even look like? Would Hacker News no longer be allowed to have moderators?


A better way would be to update the definition of a public square to take into account the exponential scaling offered by digital services. Communication and commerce infrastructure should not be allowed to censor the moment they cross a critical point in scale.


B-but what if people say mean things? :/


That's part of the Sophie's Choice. If we have private owned social media, then they will moderate according to public opinion. If we have us government run social media then we have no moderation at all because 1st amendment applies only to us government.

So is it morally allowable to discuss <abhorrent topic> online? Should it be law to allow or disallow <abhorrent topic>?

Who decides what the majority of people consider to be abhorrent?


I think you central questions it the most important one, but the dichotomy between private and public is forced. A phone company is not forced to moderate the communication of its clients.


I don't believe parent said they were forced, only that they would do it. And that makes sense, since their desire is to minimize damage to their brand.

There is a simple solution to this if you don't like the way they behave: stop using their product, and recommend others do the same.

Of course, your not using it doesn't prevent others from using it if they want to, but that's freedom of choice for you.


I am all for the free market, but when companies grow too dominant it no longer works, and we should not pretend otherwise. Just look at what happened to Parler.


These companies hardly have a monopoly on internet communication, case in point: Parler is still around!


One of us is misinformed . Parler is not around as a working social media website as of a few minutes ago.


Alright, I jumped the gun there I guess. Last I heard they did find hosting elsewhere because, and this is the important point, none of the companies that shut them down had a monopoly on internet communication.


true but the analogy falls apart when you realize that 99% of phone conversations are peer to peer and between 2-4 people.

social media posts can be a single person communicating with millions.

the damage per unit of effort is much much lower for the unmoderated phone vs the unmoderated social


I agree, its an open problem. One one hand no one elected these companies as arbiters of what is good but on the other society at large is not equipped to handle the tsunami of speech that the internet enabled. Something has to be done.


I'm not sure if you were trying to be sarcastic, but to your last point; I think it is overlooked (intentionally or not) that the Constitution is already a set of laws and the highest laws at that. The "Bill of Rights" is not what people have been misled to believe, a list of rights you have and are given by government. In fact, they are the bill of laws that restrain the government from infringing on the natural God given rights every American already has by birth.

Having a correct and accurate understanding of that carries a whole host of implications with it, e.g., it makes the tech companies' censorious autocratic behavior a violation of the natural God given human rights that the government is as prohibited from abridging as much as the tech companies that fall under it's jurisdiction.

What we are facing, just to continue the example to further illustrate the point, is the tech companies are violating human rights through their censorious ways and they are violating the Constitution, the highest law of the land. If the USA were still a functional and healthy society any court would issue an immediate order to require all tech companies to not violate the human rights that the Constitution prohibits any inferior jurisdiction (everything falling under the Constitution, i,e., everything) from violating. The US Code even provides penalties for the violation of the Constitutional laws that the Government and the tech companies are persistently and even maliciously violating on a regular basis.

It is rather clear that the far larger problem is the breakdown of fundamental rule of law (mutually agreed upon parameters for peace) and the replacement and encroachment of ever more rule of power (I will do whatever I want because I have the ability to make you). It will not end well one way or another if it is not fixed soon, and it does not look like those with the lust of power in their eyes have any intention of giving up anything.


The Bill of Rights doesn’t enumerate rights for Americans, it enumerates them for everyone (outside of specific voting rights).

And those rights are only to protect you from government actions because it’s the ultimate monopoly.

The first amendment does not give you the right to enter someone else’s house to spread your political opinions, just as the second doesn’t give you the right to walk in to their home with your loaded guns.

And stop trying to redefine the word monopoly. The internet is completely free and anyone can post whatever they want on their own web site.


Yes, to a point, the 'internet is free'. But you are sort of twisting the point a bit I think. Not only does it cost money to have a website in many cases, but to be close to 'free' in terms of what you can post the theoretical person you are referring to needs to run their own web server, and their own DNS server, and hopefully they don't expect to need a domain name...

Otherwise, it is not in fact free. Registrars can take your domain (look what is happening to eu domains owned by UK folx) and web hosts, are in part responsible for the content they host and can refuse to continue to do business with you.

Hell, even if you roll your own setup, the ISP you use can still choose not to do business with you, leaving your entire setup offline.


You seem to be working towards the core issue (eg. town square versus multiple substitute vendors) but you missed it while talking about cost and irrelevant details (eg. A website can be hosted without a DNS record).

As I see it, the core issue is that with enough substitutes denying business to a person/organization, the customer can effectively be denied access to “the town square”.

In the relevant case law, the “town square” is only applied when there was only a single meeting space in the town. In that case, it was a private mall. Twitter doesn’t apply as a town square on the internet because there are plenty other places to communicate on the internet, even if it is not as convenient or wide reaching. The problem lies in the case where all substitutes for a town square all block you.

The solution historically was to insist on a common carrier designation for certain utilities.


I'm sorry, is it an inalienable human right to use other people's property to spread speech now? When did that happen?


For the cynics like myself. The lack of action on the part of the government to restrict and hold corporations to the same level as the government is supposedly held by the constitution seems intentional.

Its a backdoor way around the constitutional restrictions. AKA the government can't restrict free speech or search your house everyday, but its going to allow everyone else to restrict and search your house for the same effect. Given the close ties between the leaders & .001%, the result is the same. It won't matter to you when you get charged with a crime you didn't commit whether the government was tracking your phone or the phone company reports your phone to the government. The result is the same.


No one is restricting anyone’s speech or searching their house. Sorry that you can’t force other people to host your thoughts tho, sounds so frustrating.


Really, where do you live?

Because where I live the government via corporations is scraping up "metadata" which includes people's web cams feeds, phone records, etc. AKA searching their house. And if you haven't been paying attention, as despicable as the speech is, political "speech" is being suppressed by large tech and media companies, and to a lesser extent what people actually say in public spaces, be that the library or the workplace.


It is not a search of your house if you broadcast your web cam on the internet, just like it doesn’t violate the 4A if you house emanates a strong smell of drugs or has a massive heat bloom visible from IR cameras on a helicopter flying over the neighborhood. I wish we had stronger protections against these conditions but we don’t.

And when has ever had a legal right to political speech at their workplace? Unless you have an employment contract which explicitly guarantees (such as teacher tenure) your employer can fire you for tons of reasons. Some states have labor laws that require “for cause”, but if you are talking politics at a workplace where that is not the core business, it’s not hard for an employer to argue your discussion adversely affects business.


Wasn't that my point, that the effect is the same because it convenient to allow others to take away the rights the government isn't allowed too?

I mean your basically arguing my point.


The key point is that “government” is doing something you find despicable. Whether corporations cooperate is by far the lesser concern.

There is a reason Us corporations can’t disclose electronic search warrants to their owners, or why no one kicked Trump off their platform despite incessant rule violations until he was days from leaving, it’s called raw political power.


Anti-trust law is a far cleaner way to approach that, with far fewer unintended consequences.


"movement from platforms to protocols" is essentially anti-trust laws codified


Depending on how its done, "movement from platforms to protocols" can also be anarchy codified. Most people don't want that either.


Please do not use the word "anarchy" as a synonym for "chaos". Anarchy is the opposite of chaos


What distinction are you trying to make here? A completely open protocol with no single controlling entity would not be inherently beholden to government control or laws like a platform would be. It can result in the distribution of illegal content such as child porn. How is this not an example of potential anarchy?


Email is an open protocol. If I send an email that's illegal, say death threats or child porn, the government can put me in jail. There doesn't need to be a single controlling entity for that to work.

The process of doing that involves investigation, subpoenas, and warrants, and is subject to laws created in a more or less democratic process. No part of it requires anyone to prevent me from sending illegal emails, just an apparatus to punish me if I do.


Anarchists as a political group usually don't like it when anarchy is compared to chaos, as this is usually a comparison that was formed by their ideological opponents.


I still don't understand this point. I am not describing chaos. I am describing the specific drawbacks of a lack of centralized authority overseeing things. Isn't that the dictionary definition of anarchy. What am I missing?


Fair.

Not the definition of Anarchy I would use but I was understanding you had used anarchy == chaos


Yea, because that's been working great thus far.


Well no, the US hasn't been enforcing its existing antitrust laws very rigorously, that's the point the GP is making.

E.g. see https://www.antitrustinstitute.org/work-product/antitrust-en...

Rather than proposing a new technological solution to the problem ("platforms to protocols") which may work but is unproven, we could simply restart the use of existing tools that have been proven to work. This has the advantage of being a strategy that can be explained to non-technical folks.


If I have a car that worked great 50 years ago but haven't been able to turn it on since the 70s when my neighbor destroyed the engine, I would not call that a proven, working car.

The "existing tools" have been proven to have a major weakness, namely they can be neutered by regulatory capture. Unless you can get everyone to magically forget how they circumvented the rules last time, you can't simply restart using them.


You can't really say antitrust hasn't been working when no one has been using it. The laws are fine if we have the will to apply them.


"The government has been unwilling to use existing powers against powerful corporations, maybe if we give them new and more expansive powers that'll do the trick. There's no possible way that these new powers will be turned against the powerless, right?"


> My hope is that this will drive a reformist movement around digital rights (speech, commerce, etc.) As well as a movement from platforms to protocols.

I don’t have much hope for this, mainly because being the owner of a platform is much more profitable than being one of many protocol end points. Look at git. It is hard to think of a more open protocol, and yet GitHub absolutely dominates and it is a big deal if they decide to cut off your repo.

A better alternative is for government to fund and operate critical infrastructure or at least heavily regulate it.

I don’t have to worry that I will get deplatformed from mail, because the USPS is there and they have strict legal requirements prohibiting them from deplatforming people. I don’t have to worry that I won’t be deplatformed from roads, because most roads are operated by the government, which is under strict legal precedents that they can’t deplatform me. It is similar with utilities such as electricity, water, gas which are privately operated but heavily regulated.

Some of the internet infrastructure is both becoming more vital as has economies of scale such that there is an inherent drive for consolidation. As such, I think it is becoming time that such things be regulated like utilities.


You are using the term "deplatform" completely wrong.

None of the things you mention are platforms.

Mail is not a platform. Roads are not a platform. Electricity, water and gas are not platforms.

These are all examples of point to point connection. None of them allow you to reach millions of people unfederated.

If you start sending out illegal hate mail to millions of people, you bet you'll be "deplatformed" by the USPS. They will cut off your account and probably press charges.


> If you start sending out illegal hate mail to millions of people, you bet you'll be "deplatformed" by the USPS.

If you start sending out legal harassment mail to millions of people, you'll get a discount.


If we're going to be picky, they used the word "platform" as a verb, not a noun. Actually they used the negative, "deplatform"... maybe we could claim they used the wrong verb. I think they were trying to make the argument that high tech sector is finally providing services that are clearly in the public's interest and could/should be treated like utilities. I think they're right - the government should get involved in balancing the scales between service provider and users.


Is EFF doing the work to advocate for responsible regulation? Is there an alternative to EFF (Electronic Frontiers Foundation) that is more in line with the spirit of your comment?


Until you get rid of forced arbitration clauses, consumer rights are an illusion.


I hope that these events make more people put their savings and time into their own projects instead of bitcoin and stocks.


...and stop the idea that you can make money by being a smart investor.

It is possible.

It is possible to make money buying lottery tickets too.

The best way to make money is to work for it. Yet because of a demand for profit and return on investment working people are getting squeezed with low wages and bad conditions.

Outrage at a invest platform doing some thing or another - I do not care about that. My outrage is at low wages and bad conditions for ordinary working people


I'm still wondering when we are going to get neighborhood-wide and then chained mesh wifi networks that bypass ISPs

I know that exists in pieces and small projects but it's not like more than a few dozen people in any town even can fathom what that is or why it's a good idea.

Google and Apple would never do this but imagine if every smartphone came not only with built in mesh-wifi ability but was on by default so it all acted as a repeater, you could probably communicate across entire states and countries given enough seconds like store-and-forward and ham radio-like solutions.


Never going to happen as long as people insist that stuff works on their walled-garden cellphone.

Cellphone lockdowns are the keystone here.

There are sensible arguments for cellphones being walled gardens (grandmas can't defend their phone against malware, etc), but this is the devil's bargain you have to accept.

As long as people (a) want everything on their cellphone and (b) want it to be locked-down enough that they can trust it to not listen in on them and stalk their location, everything downstream of the cellphone will be intermediated.


Nah, i have tons of open-protocol stuff on my cell phone. And i could make more (with some time and my technical knowledge) if i wanted/needed.

It would be nice if it was easier to enter/exit the garden at will, sure, but thats not the same thing.

I'm technically competent but these systems are so complex i don't think i could defend against malware in a complete open system. Actually, they're so complex that i do not think its possible to completely defend against malware as an end user without serious changes to behavior that is undesirable to most (eg. stop download apps so freely)


This isn't All One Thing. It isn't even all one thing inside the Robin Hood/Gamestop thing. Wall Street Bets got banned on Discord for calls to violent action, on the one hand, and their bets got throttled on Robin Hood because Robin Hood's data customers, who are legal-ishly front-running Robin Hood users, do not like what Robin Hood users are legal-ishly doing.


I’m less into the free speech component. I think companies should have the right to curate a community they see fit.

What I do care about is moving to protocols and data portability. I want the ability to switch to another provider if I’m not happy with their decisions. I absolutely don’t like my data being held hostage.

I also hope this realization extends to things like GMail which hasn’t yet seen a similar scrutiny


I just ran through a thought experiment--if Google (gmail) Apple (my phone) and Tmobile (the current owners of my number) all simultaneously nuked me, could I recover?

Luckily yes. Online access would be hindered, but nearly all my financial resources are handled through a local credit union.


Even better - having savings in a crypto hardware wallet :)


That seems like that would potentially stave off government locking off access, which is where I am most vulnerable.

I'm not in fear of the government seizing my assets, but I don't trust Google not to lock me out due to an algorithm run amok, or Tmobile giving my number away due to simple social engineering (that actually happened).

Apple I trust.


Alternative take; the following are not major parts of your life:

> Robinhood, Parler, Twitter, Reddit (et cetera)

but represent trivial ephemera whose significance for the individual, following abandonment/deletion, vanishes into hindsight once the endowment effect and separation anxiety wears off.


At this rate, they will red pill everyone with a pulse. It's a good thing (/s alert) that we have legislative solution in the pipeline just in time to address the inevitable social consequences.


I think calling for violence then carrying out actual violence is a bit different than this. But yes, it's like these giants now have a taste for deplatforming and are liberally applying it now.


I doubt it. Robinhood is now citing misinformation as the reason to "protect its users". Misinformation and disinformation are really the weapons of mass destruction. Cite it, and you get your superpower. Twitter does it. FB does it. Media, oh media loves it. So, what's wrong with Robinhood again?


I agree, instead of the original idea of the internet being a utopia of free speech, decentralization and free trade, it has devolved into a place where a select few oligarchies reign supreme pushing their views and actions onto the billions of users forced into their monopolies. Laws do not apply to them and even when they break their own TOS there are no repercussions.

A strong digital rights for users is a good start, but I think the end goal is that they(the tech monopolies) are essential utilities for a majority of the world and should be regulated as such. A CEO should not be able to silence a democratically elected leader from a communications platform(congress or a govt. communications committee should decide), users should be able to buy the stock of their choosing(the SEC can decide to halt trading pending illegal behavior) and not have that right removed by a companies CEO.


I'm not optimistic an "open-source brokerage" will ever exist. Barrier to entry is probably too high/impossible to overcome. Big hedge funds would just flat out refuse your orders or prioritize them at garbage levels.


I think it is perfectly normal that major parts of ones life can be turned off by intermediaries. It is just that they have been become rather abstract and difficult to yell at.


This should help kickstart a new decentralization movement.


That assumes people can see past Friday, not happening.


I don't think any of the services you've cited are considered "major" services by any stretch of the imagination.


Yes, they are considered major services by a lot of people.


What is your hope for reforming the ability of a single person to keep repeating a lie and nearly causing an insurrection?


That it should be up to congress and law enforcement - people that are accountable to the public, to make these rules.

Everything about what twitter did was stupid. They let him talk for years, and then finally stopped him at the worst time. They cancelled him when there was little more damage he could do and ruined ideas of free speech neutrality and it allowed his ilk to claim censorship and it helped with making him a martyr. Just absolute stupidity.

Letting corporations deal with dangerous thought leaders is not a solution that has even the slimmest chance of working.


It's really hard not to think that Twitter's timing had alot to do with their stock price. It's hard to boot the user driving the most engagement on your platform.


I wouldn't say 'nearly'. The Capitol Riot definitely fit the standard definition of an insurrection.

Your 'single person' straw man aside, I don't think the conduits of conversation are the right place to attack this problem. It's just far too risky to have utterly unaccountable businesses be in the business of policing what people say.

I have the radical opinion that the police should be doing the policing. If people are criming online (threats of violence, planning to overthrow the government), they should get a visit from The Law.


Voter fraud happened. There's video evidence of it occurring in State Farm Arena in Fulton County, GA. There's forensic evidence of 70% failure rates on voting machines in Antirim County, Michigan. There's 1000+ witness affidavits signed and presented under the penalty of perjury in various legislatures around the country. There's also statistical fraud detection algorithms that have numerous red flags with regards to the 2020 election. Repeating the lie that claims of fraud are unsubstantiated is the real problem. We have a broken, hackable electoral system with systemic issues.


State Farm Arena video doesn’t show fraud to any reasonable degree, at the absolute best it’s an irregularity. The Antirim report is massively flawed, written by an ‘expert’ with no credibility who used Minnesota counties to ‘prove’ Michigan fraud. Hand waving at ‘affidavits’ is not evidence. The statistics arguments don’t stand scrutiny when known limitations like sample size, turnout volatility and count completion are taken into account.

Bundling together lots of individual garbage theories into giant piles doesn’t net you anything other than garbage theories, just like bundling bad mortgage securities didn’t mitigate risk in the subprime crisis.

Instead of saying ‘lots of statistical algorithms,’ name one, or even two, that stand up to genuine scrutiny (and that aren’t the readily debunked Charles J. Cicchetti claims.) Don’t hide behind the sheer number of crackpot theories. Or, you know, admit you have nothing but a hunch based on cognitive dissonance.


No, the Antirim report had nothing to do with Minnesota. It was ordered by a judge. It was a forensic audit of physical machines from Antirim County: https://uncoverdc.com/2020/12/14/antrim-county-forensic-repo...

“The system intentionally generates an enormously high number of ballot errors. The electronic ballots are then transferred for adjudication. The intentional errors lead to bulk adjudication of ballots with no oversight, no transparency, and no audit trail. This leads to voter or election fraud.” Based on the study, the group concluded that the machines should not be used in Michigan nor should the election results in Antrim County be certified.

In this county, the vote was actually corrected. And knowing these machines were capable of 70% error rates should have triggered a full statewide forensic audit in Michigan at the least.

Heres the surveillance footage of 30K suitcase ballots with absolutely no chain of custody after the entire building was shut down and all poll watchers kicked out on the basis of a bullshit water pipe leak story, being counted between 11pm and 1am the night of the election: https://rumble.com/vblh33-attorney-jackie-pick-exposes-georg...

At any rate, it's not a hunch. It's a fact. The election was stolen. We live in a banana republic.


You have stated no less than three completely incorrect and unprovable statements that are contradicted directly by the facts.

1. The Antirim report was conducted by Russell James Ramsland who is the exact same non-expert person who mixed up Minnesota and Michigan. So, yes it does have something to do with it.

2. The report was not ordered by a judge, it was permitted. The distinction matters, because suggesting the judge 'ordered it' implies that it was some sort of impartial inquiry, instead of just another hack job by someone who wanted Trump to win.

3. The surveillance footage and the water pipe events happened on different nights, 17 hours apart.

That's just purely on the basis of facts that even aren't up for argument. There's much more to disagree with when further analyzing your claims, and while I'd be happy to go over them, I don't feel like a deep comment on an old news story is the best place for me to spend my time.

That your three main points contain full on factual misstatements should give you enough pause to reconsider the certainty of your conclusion.


link to sources please - like the source video, the source evidence on the failure rates, etc.

also explain why no court, no intelligence agency (local or international), and the vast majority of the US Senate (consisting of both major political parties) disagrees with your assessment.

Also if the presidential votes are invalid than I guess we need to assume all the other items on the ballet (house, senate, bills, etc) were also invalid correct?


Its amazing how all the power structure in the US was on the right (the Presidency, Senate, Supreme Court, Federal Courts, Appellate Courts), but somehow the left was able to perform one of the most coordinated acts of voter fraud in history. And not only that, performed the same fraud in the polls leading up to the election too.

If the left is this good at such a grand conspiracy, then they really should run the country.


Yes, well that's exactly what happens in socialist countries like Venezuela. It's not some theoretical formula for maintaining power that has never been tried before. Rigging and corruption is the rule not the exception, in human history.

We don't have the federal courts, not in the least. It's just fraud. The FBI would rather investigate Twitter shitposters than touch this. They'd rather get jobs at CNN as consultants to pitch their own actual conspiracy theory about Trump being a Russian stooge for three years despite having had exculpatory evidence the entire time. I don't know how Americans are so naive when it comes to the depravity of our system.


Again, the maintenance of rigging and corruption by the party being disenfranchised is NOT the rule.

It’s weird how almost every post you’ve done has been filled with factually wrong data, eg, the federal courts. But it helps explain why on less factual matters your bias so is severe. The sad part is I think you have no idea about your bias and actually believe what you’re writing.


Well, once the gov cracks down on ISPs game over. No way we can have a grassroots internet without the ISPs.


Yeah I can't wait to live in a world where we enable more financial market mobbing by the uninformed and emotional masses. What could go wrong?

Tune will change when RSUs and 401ks get effected.


I don’t know about you, but the vast majority of people I know don’t have RSUs nor 401ks.


About 1/3 of Americans have a 401k. The RSU snipe was just for the orange website crowd.


When retail in traders en masse decide that a trading platform is impinging upon their rights, the SEC should be obligated to open an investigation. Isn't this pretty much a major component of their intended purpose?


I have a bit of knowledge from friends who work in fintech, and the sentiment among fintech companies seems to be that SEC doesn't matter. The fine is small and comes way too late. You can simply account for an approximate future fine and move forward with your shady business.


This will probably be my least popular post ever, but the explanation needs to get out there for why Robinhood stopped trading on GME.

Selling a stock short is NOT illegal. It is a perfectly valid type of investment according to the SEC:

“D. Are short sales legal? Although the vast majority of short sales are legal, abusive short sale practices are illegal. For example, it is prohibited for any person to engage in a series of transactions in order to create actual or apparent active trading in a security or to depress the price of a security for the purpose of inducing the purchase or sale of the security by others. Thus, short sales effected to manipulate the price of a stock are prohibited.”

Basically – you can’t short sell a stock to manipulate the price down so you can buy a lot more of it later. If you believe a stock is overpriced and short sell it, that is legal. That is exactly what tons of retail traders and hedge funds do every day, including on Gamestop.

On the other hand, manipulating a stock price upwards to cause a short squeeze IS illegal according to the same SEC article:

“Although some short squeezes may occur naturally in the market, a scheme to manipulate the price or availability of stock in order to cause a short squeeze is illegal.”

Unprecedented numbers of people on Reddit, Twitter, and elsewhere collaborated to intentionally create a short squeeze on GME in the last week. No one talked about a fundamental case why Gamestop the company was worth a lot of money and would be successful in the future; instead everyone made the argument that due to a very high short interest of 100%+, that a short squeeze would send the price “to the moon”. That is illegal according to the SEC.

Multiple brokerages, especially Robinhood, probably had their attorneys tell them that “Hey, you are aiding and abetting illegal activity by enabling a short squeeze and could be liable criminally or civilly if you continue to allow this blatant illegal activity on your platform”. So they decided to stop it by only allowing people to close their positions rather than open new ones in support of the short squeeze.

Another strong reason is that if the short squeeze caused the GME stock to go to 5000 in a sudden leap, tons of traders (both retail and professional) could instantly go broke, and then the brokerage (Robinhood) would be left holding the bag. For example, picture a retail investor with a Robinhood account had sold call options in the amount of $100,000 and their account was worth $200,000. If the price gapped from 300 to 5000 and those options were exercised, that trader could have a loss of $10,000,000. He would lose the value of his account, $200,000… but the brokerage would have to make up the rest of the settlement and take a loss of $9,800,000. Now multiply that by thousands of accounts…. no brokerage wants to take the risk of being bankrupted, so they shut it down.

The two strong reasons Robinhood and other brokers stopped trading was to prevent legal liability from enabling illegal activity on their platform, and for wanting to avoid potentially massive banktuptcy from traders unable to cover their losses.


Wrong. The bull case was made for GME as far back as late 2019, and it gained momentum this year.

Nothing different than Jim Cramer talking up a stock on CNBC every fucking night.

Edit: I know this because I watched a youtube video from a popular redditor named deepfuckingvalue a few weeks ago and bought into the thesis fully as a value investment. He goes under the name RoaringKitty on youtube.

I lost multiple years worth of salary this morning when RobinHood decided to stop selling GME.


> Wrong. The bull case was made for GME as far back as late 2019, and it gained momentum this year.

That argument was made last year and early this year. The argument this week has been that the stock price will increase specifically because of a short squeeze, and the popular comment on WSB has been that buying and/or holding GME stock is a rebellious act that will cause that short squeeze to happen.

If deliberately causing a short squeeze constitutes illegal market manipulation, then at least some of the WSB comments advocate for going over that line. On the other hand, the SEC would probably have its hands full linking these comments to actual trades that were meaningful enough to move the stock price -- SEC rules aren't written with a horde of enraged small-dollar investors in mind as the culprits.

Notice that RoaringKitty has taken profits from his GME holdings over the past few weeks, most recently about two days ago, and has not continued buying into the stock.

> I lost multiple years worth of salary this morning when RobinHood decided to stop selling GME.

With all due respect, GME has been a highly speculative play for at least this entire week. It's not a good idea to speculate with money that you can't afford to lose.


So what? I know it's a highly speculative move. I know it's absurd to buy this stock at this price. But we should be allowed to. (Obviously not on margin).

I don't really think the market should allow for this sort of thing. I agree with you there. But that's how the rules are written, and now when the little guy figures out the rules they shut it down.


I'm curious how you would justify the valuation.

GME is trading at between 4x and 8x it's all time high in 2008. The graph of the stock price basically looks like a flat line until a few days ago where it dramatically spiked to far, far more than it's previous peak.

Are you saying that GME will actually be worth it's current stock price a year from now? Why is that?


I am sorry to hear about your losses, but that does not disprove my explanation. I also am a member of WSB and read all the top posts. I think most of them make the argument to hold the position as a short squeeze is coming, and very few of them argue the stock is truly worth a ton of money. Very few people actually believe a company that sells video games the same way Blockbuster sold movies has a lot of potential.


That absolutely disproves your explanation. You said nobody was making a case for GameStop being a good stock, and the other comment pointed out that the single most popular name associated with this trade has been doing exactly that.

You also quoted the SEC saying that manipulating a stock price to cause a short squeeze is illegal but also that short squeezes occur naturally. Expecting a short squeeze and intending to profit off of it is not illegal.

You make the point that some people on wallstreetbets made comments that crossed the line on manipulation. I'm sure that's true, but if you see a few problematic comments out of millions it's obviously absurd to say that a stock mustn't be bought because of them.

Ironically, you are criticizing what is clearly not manipulation (valuing GME highly and expecting to profit off of a coming short squeeze) in order to defend what clearly is manipulation (banning a million retail investors from taking one side of a trade at a critical moment).


Shorting a stock, then going on CNBC and explaining why you shorted it, possibly catalyzing a profitable selloff: totally legit.

Buying $300 worth of stock and then posting a rocket emoji on a message board: an assault on the basic foundations of capitalism.


I'm not a member of WSB, and I don't follow their forum. Having done an independent analysis and deciding that it is potentially a good (but risky) move for me, why am I not allowed to trade GME? I can trade any other stock this way.


> For example, picture a retail investor with a Robinhood account had sold call options in the amount of $100,000 and their account was worth $200,000. If the price gapped from 300 to 5000 and those options were exercised, that trader could have a loss of $10,000,000. He would lose the value of his account, $200,000… but the brokerage would have to make up the rest of the settlement and take a loss of $9,800,000. Now multiply that by thousands of accounts…. no brokerage wants to take the risk of being bankrupted, so they shut it down.

That's why every brokerage has a risk department. If you're a brokerage and you let thousands of customers write uncovered GME calls, you deserve to lose all your money and go out of business. Simple as that.


Exactly. So the risk department told them to shut down trading till things were saner.


Brokerages do not have a fiduciary duty to prevent customers from losing their money in bad trades. It's one thing to shut down margin trading or even possibly options purchases, but to not allow people to buy a stock with their own money is pretty bad. There is zero risk to the brokerage there.


um, buying stocks is not a scheme to manipulate the price. However disabling purchases of a stock for millions of users does artificially suppress demand.

Also robinhood doesn't allow selling naked options so that entire point of yours is moot.


Interactive Brokers does allow naked selling of options, and also shut down trading probably for similar reasons. Robinhood could lose money in any number of ways if a stock gaps and some of it's customers go bankrupt.

If you buy or sell stocks with the intent to manipulate the price (either through a pump and dump scheme, or a short squeeze scheme) that is illegal. It doesn't matter whether the action is only buying or only selling. It is the intent.


Are you saying that Rubinhood shut down trading to prevent "stock gap" and avoid potential losses? Isn't it also illegal stock price manipulation?


Well I think probably most of the people on wsb have no idea what they're doing, those that trade on margin are extremely reckless and irrational. Having said that I still find absolutely ridiculous and highly corrupt that they solely stopped buy orders. If you stop trading that's reasonable, but to cap this off on one side and allow Wallstreet to make up for losses is unacceptable.


Robinhood's platform was allowing illegal activity - many people had come out publicly [0] saying they were attempting a short squeeze on GME which is illegal. Robinhood is extremely vulnerable to lawsuits for enabling that activity if they did not take action.

0- https://www.reddit.com/r/wallstreetbets/comments/l594yg/gme_...


Do you have a source for why that is illegal?


Assuming this is all true, it still just feels like they're picking winners, which is probably the thing that's going to matter more than anything else going forward. People can and will point to a laundry list of rules violations by institutional investors (is a 140% short of a stock completely and unambiguously within the rules?) that show the hypocrisy of the little guy getting screwed.


They aren't picking winners, they are avoiding lawsuits for allowing illegal activity on their platform. Short squeezes are illegal. You can see people collaborating all over WSB to create short squeezes, most frequently using the Robinhood app.

https://www.reddit.com/r/wallstreetbets/comments/l594yg/gme_...


You keep repeating that short squeezes are illegal but that's not true. Manipulating prices to cause a short squeeze is illegal, but that's not what happened here. Some people bought GME because they liked the stock. Others bought because they thought a short squeeze was coming.

If I think the price is going up and buy, that's legal. If I manipulate the price to go up after I buy, that's illegal. It's the same thing.


Robinhood stopped people from purchasing a stock without margin, so I don't buy your second reason.


> If the price gapped from 300 to 5000 and those options were exercised, that trader could have a loss of $10,000,000. He would lose the value of his account, $200,000… but the brokerage would have to make up the rest of the settlement and take a loss of $9,800,000.

What if the price of a stock went from $300 to $5000 for legitimate reasons, perhaps due to some technological breakthrough. The exact same situation would happen. Would shutting down trading also be justified?


The SEC has led the charge of government agencies away from anything that could reasonably be called regulation. Take note of how often the term 'oversight' is used vs 'regulation' when these guys are talking.


Yeah, I assume in reality, this is essentially the exact opposite what is happening. I would imagine the SEC is involved behind the scenes in coordinating these shutdowns.

That feels like a huge violation of their stated intent though.


Last I checked, the SEC doesn't pay very well compared to financial law / trading...


There are lots of skilled but civic minded people in all the three letter agencies. The problem isn't people, it's ideology. Namely market fetishism and the assumption that if you're rich you just know better.


> how often the term 'oversight' is used vs 'regulation' when these guys are talking.

Is that how we're determining efficacy now...? Semantics?

I take it that you like FINRA because of the R in the name.


What? My point is that they see themselves as mall cops observing and reporting, not actively regulating behavior. That makes a pretty big difference in efficacy.


What you said was that they often use the word "observe" rather than "regulate," and that this is somehow reflective of the way they do their jobs. That's a purely semantic viewpoint and a ridiculous way to judge the efficacy of any regulator.

In actual fact, they use the term "enforcement action." Here's their report from 2020. See for yourself:

https://www.sec.gov/files/enforcement-annual-report-2020.pdf


I think we can be certain the SEC will open an investigation. They don't generally work in real time though.


> Isn't this pretty much a major component of their intended purpose?

Reminds me of the scene in the The Big Short where the hot chick in the pool who currently works for the SEC (at the time) is in town in Vegas for a conference hoping to run into some Wall Street banker dudes so she can schmooze and float her resume to them. And it's not a conflict of interest.


I've been reading WSB since yesterday and while I understand the outrage about blocking trading. They started blocking trading with $GME trading in the $400's, and a slew of redditors on WSB, Discord & Telegram pushing penny stocks. It started out a crusade against the hedge fund shorting $GME and quickly turned into rallying dumb money to pump and dump penny stocks. Looking at the direction things were going it seems like Robinhood acted responsibly in cutting off the buys of AMC, BB, NOK, etc. They're all stocks that have been propped up artificially in the last 48 hours based on the hype and attention generated by the Gamestop story.

No one serious thinks Gamestop stock is worth $400+. Robinhood cut off buying at the point when unsophisticated investors were caught up in a stampede to "stick it to the man." Seems like they did the right thing.


> Robinhood acted responsibly

No. This is against the Free Market hypothesis. We are supposed to let the Dumb Money get into the market, fail out and learn their lesson.


Wall Street is/will be having a ball with the new administration desperate to keep the market "stable". Stable == deliberately and slowly bled by hedge funds.


What's the Free Market hypothesis?


"This is Wall-street Dr. Burry, if you offer us free money, we're going to take it"

Absolute nonsense. The exchange is protecting the trader from himself!!

The exchange is designed to make money selling and buying. There is no reason they would stop either unless some big wig made a phone call.


Robinhood doesn't make money on trades - they make money off of commisions paid to them by high frequency traders. Basically there's some time between when I place an order and when a stock actually gets purchased. In that time, the price may change a bit. High frequency traders can buy at slightly lower prices than I could, and can sell at slightly higher prices than I could, so they can profit the difference without me noticing. Some of this excess gets paid to robinhood as a sort of finders fee.

Over many stocks and long periods of time, this works quite well. However the system breaks down if everyone is trying to buy the same heavily manipulated stock.


Should Robinhood be an arbiter of what is a reasonable trade and what people can spend their money on? Because if so, they have a lot of restricting to do to keep people safe...


What about the people that are trying to double down to protect their long position? What about the money they will lose? Either the market is efficient or it isn't.


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