Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"We now need to know more about Robinhood's decision to block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade the stock as they see fit," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on Thursday, January 28, 2021. (Photo Illustration: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

"We now need to know more about Robinhood's decision to block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade the stock as they see fit," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on Thursday, January 28, 2021. (Photo Illustration: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

'This Is Unacceptable': AOC, Tlaib Demand Hearing Into Robinhood Blocking Customers From GameStop Trades

"They're blocking the ability to trade to protect Wall St. hedge funds, stealing millions of dollars from their users to protect people who've used the stock market as a casino for decades."

Kenny Stancil

Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib on Thursday called on Congress to investigate Robinhood after the trading app—which helped amateur investors on Reddit boost the price of GameStop's stock in what progressives described as a lesson in the "absurdity" of capitalism—stopped allowing users to purchase stock in the video game retailer and other hot picks.

"This is unacceptable," said Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a member of the House Financial Services Committee.

"We now need to know more about Robinhood's decision to block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade the stock as they see fit," Ocasio-Cortez noted, adding that she would support a hearing if necessary.

As Jordan Pearson reported for Vice:

According to screenshots shared on social media, on Thursday morning a notification appeared on Robinhood telling users that they could close their position on GameStop's stock but not buy any additional shares. Redditors are currently panicking, looking for ways to transfer their shares of GameStop off of Robinhood to other platforms, and are generally furious at the platform.

In a blog post, Robinhood confirmed that it has placed restrictions on several stocks due to volatility. "We continuously monitor the markets and make changes where necessary. In light of recent volatility, we are restricting transactions for certain securities to position closing only, including $AMC, $BB, $BBBY, $EXPR, $GME, $KOSS, $NAKD and $NOK. We also raised margin requirements for certain securities," the blog post read...

This is likely to have a massive impact on Robinhood users and ultimately the company. Holders are now unable to freely trade it; the app is only allowing users to close out their positions, meaning they can sell it but not buy more. This is potentially devastating for novice investors or those who simply want to follow the general marching orders of the r/WallStreetBets subreddit, which is to hold (and buy more) GameStop stock until further notice.

The price of GameStop's stock "fell as much as 68% Thursday after curbs were imposed," Al-Jazeera reported, prompting Robinhood users to sue the company.

Tlaib (D-Mich.) called Robinhood's actions "absurd," and echoed her colleague's demand for "a hearing on Robinhood's market manipulation."

"They're blocking the ability to trade to protect Wall St. hedge funds," Tlaib said, "stealing millions of dollars from their users to protect people who've used the stock market as a casino for decades."

Many commentators have decried the double-standards that allow Wall Street firms to manipulate markets to maximize profit but punish Redditors for doing the same.

"If Redditors rallying GameStop is unacceptable market manipulation," tweeted former labor secretary Robert Reich, "what would you call it when greedy Wall Street bankers gambled away our entire economy in 2008 and faced no consequences?"

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) added to the chorus, pointing out that "the moment regular folks beat [Wall Street] at their own rigged game, it's SHUT IT DOWN." Instead, Omar suggested, Congress should impose a financial transactions tax to redistribute the wealth appropriated through speculative trading.

Ocasio-Cortez said she'll be on Twitch at 8:30 pm ET "to discuss today's developments with GameStop."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

ACLU Demands 'Truly Systemic Overhaul' of US Civilian Harm Policies

"While a serious Defense Department focus on civilian harm is long overdue and welcome, it's unclear that this directive will be enough," says director of the legal group's National Security Project.

Jessica Corbett ·


'This Is Not Over': Alaska Supreme Court Rejects Youth Climate Case

"With the state continuing to undermine their health, safety, and futures," said the plaintiffs' lead counsel, "we will evaluate our next steps and will continue to fight for climate justice."

Jessica Corbett ·


Analysis Finds 'Staggering' Rise in Voter Suppression After GOP Restrictions in Georgia

"This is why we are fighting this new law in court," said one voting rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


'Egregious': Pennsylvania Court Strikes Down Mail-In Voting Law

The ruling was stayed pending an appeal to the state's Supreme Court and as one voting advocate put it: "The fight's not over yet, folks."

Julia Conley ·


Big Win for Open Internet as Court Upholds California Net Neutrality Law

One legal advocate called the Ninth Circuit's opinion "a great decision and a major victory for internet users in California and nationwide."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo