77% of people surveyed believe Robinhood’s restriction of meme stocks during the GameStop frenzy was market manipulation, new report finds

Robinhood on cellphone
Robinhood app SOPA Images/Getty Images
  • A survey of 1,300 people found that 77% believe that Robinhood’s restriction of some stocks in January was market manipulation.
  • The survey found that 39% felt the whole event was “exciting and good”, while 17% felt it was “exciting but a bad investment.” 
  • 28% said the Robinhood frenzy was chaotic in a positive way, while 15% felt it was detrimental. 
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell

A survey by data analytics firm Invisibly found that 77% of people believe Robinhood’s restriction of certain stocks at the peak of the Reddit-fueled frenzy amounts to market manipulation.

Commission-free trading app Robinhood has faced significant backlash and scrutiny in the weeks since January’s Reddit-fueled short squeeze, with CEO Vlad Tenev grilled by legislators at February’s congressional hearing over the company’s decision to restrict buying of many of the “meme stocks” at the heart of the saga.

The move took the wind out of the momentum trade, and marked the end of January’s retail trader phenomenon. 

Now, a recent study by data analytics from Invisibly found that a majority of people surveyed believe Robinhood’s restriction of meme stocks was market manipulation.

The study, which surveyed 1,300 people during the first week of February, also revealed that 39% felt the market mania was “exciting and good” for investors, while 17% felt it was “exciting but a bad investment.” 

28% said the trading phenomenon was a positive event, and “shaking things up from time to time is a good thing”, while 15% felt it was detrimental to markets. Meanwhile, 40% of respondents believe that Robinhood and other retail trading services restricted some stocks to help hedge funds. 

The survey paints a stark picture of the public’s perception of what transpired in late January, despite Robinhood stating that it restricted trading of some stocks due to clearinghouse requirements. 

GameStop shares rapidly climbed over 400% before crashing back down to earth following restrictions from Robinhood and other brokerages. The event drew the eye of lawmakers and regulators, with the first of three planned hearings taking place last month. Congress heard testimonies from the Robinhood CEO, famed GameStop retail investor Keith “Roaring Kitty” Gill, and Citadel CEO Ken Griffin.