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Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev. Photo by Bloomberg

Robinhood’s Staff Fret Over Mission After Startup Halted ‘Meme Stock’ Buying

Photo: Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev. Photo by Bloomberg

In the eyes of some employees at Robinhood, the stock trading app lost its way when it decided Thursday to halt the buying of “meme stocks” such as videogame retailer GameStop, which Robinhood customers bought in order to squeeze hedge funds that had bet that those stocks would fall.

After cheering on the steep rise in shares of GameStop and other retailers that had been shorted by hedge funds, some Robinhood employees openly shared their frustration and confusion with colleagues about the sudden trade restrictions, according to one person close to the company and comments by employees that were viewed by The Information. They felt it went against Robinhood’s stated mission to “democratize finance” for individual investors who earlier this week appeared to temporarily turn the tables on Wall Street firms, thanks in part to the trading app.

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