Facebook shut down Robinhood Stock Traders — a popular stock trading group — prompting the group's founder Allen Tran to accuse "major institutions" of trying to silence the community. The social media platform alleged the group violated "adult sexual exploitation" rules — a claim denied by Tran.
Robinhood Stock Traders group comprised 157,000 members when Facebook disabled it on Wednesday. Tran received a notification, viewed by Reuters, that stated the group violated the company's policies on "adult sexual exploitation." Facebook did not elaborate on its reason.
Tran told Reuters that he never saw sexual content on the group, which is not associated with Robinhood stock trading app. "We were first on the picking tree to be cut off because we are on Facebook, not a free platform like Reddit," Tran said.
The 23-year-old also said some of the group members raked up tens of thousands of dollars in recent trades after members of Reddit's WallStreetBets began trading GamesStop's stocks impacting hedge funds.
Tran, who also headed his investment group HaiKhuu Trading, wrote a Facebook post attacking the social media giant.
"The major institutions are attempting to silence our community. We are positively impacting people's lives and they are attacking our group because we are more powerful than them," he said in the post, adding that "there is power in masses."
This is not the first time Facebook banned the group. The social media platform temporarily banned Robinhood Stock Traders on Jan. 7 calling it a "dangerous organization." While the ban was lifted, Facebook did not explain what activity in the group amounted it to being a "dangerous organization."
The group's ban came after stock trading apps Robinhood and Webull halted the purchase of GameStop stock, along with those of AMC and Koss Corporation. This was done after Redditors rushed to buy GameStop stocks once it was discovered that hedge funds including Melvin Capital and Citron Research held short positions.
Short selling is a trading strategy, in which it is expected that prices of stocks will fall and the trader will benefit from the transaction. However, GameStop's stocks surged after social media users invested in the shares.
The Robinhood trading app justified its move to halt the purchases by calling it a "risk-management decision." However, at least one class-action lawsuit was filed against Robinhood for "manipulating the open market."