How GameStop And An Army Of Reddit Traders Exposed The Riskiest Market In Decades

On Thursday evening Thomas Peterffy, the billionaire founder of Interactive Brokers, took stock of a day unlike any in his over fifty-year trading career. An army of novice traders had united on social media site Reddit and relentlessly bought stock and options in ailing video game retailer GameStop on trading applications such as Robinhood, driving its stock from $20 at the start of the year to nearly $500 that afternoon.

The surge cost Wall Street investors almost $20 billion in mark-to-market losses, and Peterffy’s brokerage spent the day issuing thousands of margin calls on its customers’ bearish GameStop bets, forcing them to realize losses. During the trading day, Interactive Brokers, Robinhood and other online brokerages also restricted some trading in GameStop, movie theater chain AMC Entertainment, BlackBerry and other stocks that were part of the pump. The move, they later said, was to conserve cash as their clearinghouses demanded money to cover potential customer losses amid the fervent speculation. 

At Interactive Brokers, Peterffy estimated that had the firm not closed out trades, its customers were sitting on $500 million in losses. Cash got tight at Robinhood, the Silicon Valley unicorn that had raised billions in venture capital and unleashed the speculative frenzy, introducing millions of young traders to frictionless stock and options trading. It drew down hundreds of millions in its credit lines and raised $1 billion in new emergency cash as its clearinghouse reserves rose tenfold.

Peterffy went to bed that night worried of a market collapse. “If the broker has to pay more money to the clearinghouse for customer losses than he has, then the broker is bankrupt. And when one broker goes bankrupt, usually a few others do too,” he told Forbes late on Thursday evening. “So, I’m worried about a systemic failure.”

IKBR
Thomas Peterffy, founder of Interactive Brokers PHOTO BY MATTHEW FURMAN/THE FORBES COLLECTION

The episode of millennial and zoomer-aged Reddit traders taking on Wall Street’s wealthiest and winning has turned into the David versus Goliath tale of the age of inequality. There are some big winners from GameStop, young investors who’ve already taken massive profits that can be used to pay off student debt, or build savings. For many onlookers, the humiliation of Wall Street is icing on the cake.

Despite the wry cheers, GameStop’s surge is surfacing a market fraught with leverage, unprecedented speculation and superficial analysis at almost every corner, exposing enormous risks. The pain started with the hedge funds that lost big, but as risk bubbles over, it will have reverberations in the broader market (see story).

“What’s been happening really is a reflection of the quality of analysis, the quality of work, the quality of input that is coming to Wall Street,” says billionaire investing legend Michael Steinhardt. “And it’s a sorry tale, that something like this can happen and it’s obviously something that will have a bad ending for people who are in a position to afford it least.”

Long-short equity hedge funds generated big gains in 2020 as they bet on the digital companies that thrived during the Coronavirus pandemic, and hedged their rising portfolios by crowding into bets against troubled retailers like GameStop. But they entered the new year complacent.

“When I looked at these shorts, I thought who the heck would be short movie theaters, bricks and mortar retailers and airlines when we’re just beginning to clear bottlenecks in vaccine distribution,” says Barry Knapp, managing partner of Ironsides Macroeconomics. GameStop entered 2021 as one of the most shorted stocks in the world, though positive changes were afoot inside the company as online sales surged and customers lined up outside its stores to buy new PlayStation consoles. Moreover, the Federal Reserve has been flooding the market with liquidity and a second round of stimulus checks hit bank accounts at the end of the year, a risk hedge funds should have sidestepped. The complacency was exploited by the Reddit army, to devastating effect.

A hedge fund named Melvin Capital, backed by Billionaire Steven A. Cohen of Point72, was the biggest victim, dropping 53% in January according to the Wall Street Journal, in part due to its GameStop short. One of Melvin’s mistakes was disclosing a put position against GameStop (a bet shares would fall) on its public filings, which gave the Redditors a target to rally around. It could have done the trades over-the-counter, remaining discreet, or closed them. Last week, Melvin required a $2.75 billion infusion from Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management and Citadel, owned by billionaire Ken Griffin, due to its losses.

Other big funds were hit hard. “People are telling me that the pain is anywhere from down 10% on the low end, which is Steve Cohen, to down 30% on the high-end,” says hedge fund insider Anthony Scaramucci of Skybridge. Large funds swept up in the losses include Cohen’s Point72 and highly-regarded funds like D1 Capital, Holocene Capital, Viking Global and Ken Griffin’s Citadel.

These funds may have mistakenly taken a piping hot stock market as a sign of genius, pressing their trade too far. “Tech stocks today are historically overvalued. On many metrics, they’re higher than they were at the peak of the dot-com bubble,” says Kevin Smith, chief investment officer of $200 million in assets Crescat Capital. 

Fueling soaring valuations is perhaps the biggest speculative frenzy witnessed in a century, thanks to frictionless and zero-cost stock and options trading by Robinhood. Single stock call option trading has hit new records. Junky GameStop, not Apple or Microsoft, was by far the most traded company in America at times last week. Daily option premiums traded in the video game retailer surged to nearly $10 billion, more than the entire S&P 500 Index. 

It’s all thanks to online brokerage Robinhood, which introduced millions of young traders to these dangerous derivative financial products and adeptly built a platform that encourages video game-like speculation. While Robinhood purports to democratize investing, behind the scenes it makes money feeding customers order to Wall Street’s savviest traders (see story). Giant market making firms like Citadel Securities and Virtu Financial have been more than happy to pay for the flow of orders coming from Robinhood, earning record revenues executing the trades in 2020. Time and again, however, the construct has proven unable to handle the rampant speculation it encourages. 

For the past year, Robinhood has crashed at the apex of market activity and a new problem emerged Thursday. Because Robinhood onboards clients with margin accounts so they can begin trading instantaneously, it’s required to post collateral for its traders’ activity. On Thursday, the activity was so large, concentrated and speculative, Robinhood’s clearinghouses demanded extra collateral, creating a cash crunch that led to the trading freeze. Robinhood then went running to its venture capital backers for a $1 billion cash infusion. 

Lawmakers and celebrities came to the Redditors defense. When trading was restricted in GameStop, just as they could smell hedge fund blood in the water, both New York Congressman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Texas Senator Ted Cruz demanded investigations. Comedian Jon Stewart lamented, “this is bull**it. The Redditors aren’t cheating, they’re joining a party Wall Street insiders have been enjoying for years…maybe sue them for copyright infringement instead!!”

GameStop’s rise began with reasonable analysis, but morphed into an arbitrage that exploits free options trading. Ultimately, it has revealed a new force in financial markets that’s crashing Wall Street’s clubby party, with hard to predict consequences. “Frictionless and highly gamified environments ignite the basest instincts of human nature,” says Paul Rowady of Alphacution Research. “Lubricating people to forego whatever discipline and self-control that they might otherwise have is the intended goal of these environments. And, with sustained exposure comes indelible impacts.”

GameStop
GameStop’s Short Squeeze Courtesy of YCharts

GameStop’s ascent started in the summer of 2019 when Michael Burry, the hedge fund manager lionized for spotting the housing bubble in “The Big Short,” uncovered his next great trade in GameStop. Burry bought two million shares and recommended an obvious arbitrage. “GameStop could pull off perhaps the most consequential and shareholder-friendly buyback in stock market history with elegance and stealth,” Burry told the company after disclosing his position. “Mr. Market is putting this one right in your hands,” said Burry. Within months GameStop spent $200 million to retire 38% of its heavily shorted stock. 

It seeped into social media. In September 2019, Keith Gill, a 34-year financial advisor in Massachusetts, got into the GameStop trade, paying $53,566.04 to buy 1,000 call options on the company and posting his position to Reddit on Sept. 8, 2019 under the pseudonym u/DeepF__ingValue, which eventually became a sensation with millions of followers. By July 2020, he was publishing videos to YouTube under the pseudonym Roaring Kitty, presenting in kitten-themed tee shirts his detailed analysis on why GameStop could gain big if the market grew more optimistic on its sales as a new PlayStation console was released. Others jumped in. Ryan Cohen, the billionaire founder of online pet food seller Chewy, bought 10% of GameStop, and joined its board in the fall, hoping to bolster its digital platform.

With positive change afoot, Reddit posters uncovered the potential for a squeeze due to GameStop’s heavy short interest and the interplay of options trades on platforms like Robinhood and their execution by market makers like Citadel Securities. Because call options are the right to buy 100 shares of stock at a specified price for a specified period of time, the market maker executing the trade (Citadel Securities, for example) hedges itself by buying actual shares.

If enough buying activity could be organized, the Redditors realized, demand for GameStop shares would far exceed available supply, pushing prices far higher. Eventually, hedge funds short GameStop would be forced to close or cover their positions and buy GameStop shares at higher prices, adding even more upward pressure to the stock. It would be similar to the organized run on shares of United Copper, which caused the Panic of 1907, only in a digital world.

The dynamics pushed GameStop up almost 2,000% in 2020, to a $22 billion market value. Had GameStop trading not been halted, it might have ripped far higher, and it may yet.

“It’s not like everyone is an idiot just playing with their money,” says Taylor Hamilton, 23, an IT worker who has made well over $100,000 in profits and paid his off student loans since starting to trade options on online brokerages like Robinhood in March 2020. “We understood what was going on and we understood how to take advantage of the moment.”

The key for the Reddit army is to get out before the music inevitably stops. “We’re in a naturally occuring Ponzi,” says Ben Inker, head of asset allocation at GMO, “The market needs to draw in more and more money to keep this afloat. Eventually you don’t have enough and it collapses.”

For some, the squeeze is the outcome of a decade of encouragement of risk taking. Signs of excess are everywhere, from record Spac issuance to red hot initial public offerings that double or triple in a matter of days. “Policymakers are essentially telling us as investors that the prudent and responsible thing to do in this cycle is to be irresponsible and imprudent. These guys on Reddit figured it out,” says Marko Papic, chief strategist at Clocktower Group.

Things may yet get crazier, and the possibility of a debacle that hits the portfolios of index fund investors seems inevitable. As GameStop and other “meme” stocks squeezed higher, hedge funds liquidated their portfolios en masse, causing a sharp weekly drop in the S&P 500 Index. With hedge funds squeezed to the hilt, brokerages low on cash, and millions of investors maintaining enormously speculative positions, risks of bad surprises abound.

“Where there’s leverage, there’s susceptibility to squeezes and tails,” says Mark Spitznagel, the head of Universa Investments. “The entire marketplace is leveraged in an unprecedented way right now.”

The biggest immediate issue is that the squeeze is far from over. “I keep hearing that most of the GameStop shorts have been covered. Totally untrue,” says Ihor Dusaniwsky, of market data firm S3 Partners. “Brokers have been telling me as soon as some shorts are covering there is a line of new short sellers looking to short GameStop at these high stock price levels in anticipation of a pullback.”

Short interest in GameStop is now $11.20 billion with 57.83 million shares shorted, or 113% of its tradable shares, near record highs, according to Dusaniwsky. Shares shorted have declined by just 8%, despite the billions already lost. 

“These stocks could be pushed further,” worries Peterffy of Interactive Brokers, “It is a very dangerous, but very attractive game for both sides and the positions may increase accordingly… SCARY.”

—With reporting from Eliza Haverstock, Halah Touryalai, Christopher Helman, Sergei Klebnikov, Matt Schifrin and Jon Ponciano

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Antoine Gara

Antoine Gara

I’m a staff writer and associate editor at Forbes, where I cover finance and investing. My beat includes hedge funds, private equity, fintech, mutual funds, mergers, and banks. I’m a graduate of Middlebury College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and I’ve worked at TheStreet and Businessweek. Before becoming a financial scribe, I was a member of the fateful 2008 analyst class at Lehman Brothers. Email thoughts and tips to agara@forbes.com. Follow me on Twitter at @antoinegara

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CNBC

GameStop has captivated Wall Street’s attention. The stock’s rise has been otherworldly. But the obsession isn’t just with the rally, it’s with who’s making money off of it. Legions of individual investors — regular, everyday people — gathered on social platforms like Reddit and decided to send GameStop stock, as they would say, to the moon. This week, GameStop shares soared 400%, a hedge fund had to get bailed out, and online trading platforms had to restricting trading on GameStop and other hot stocks. Here’s how the GameStop saga played out, and what’s next as lawmakers turn their sights on the story that took over Wall Street this week. »

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Dow Plunged 1,000 Points This Week After Reddit Traders Stormed The Stock Market–What Happens Next?

Despite blowout corporate earnings and more solid news on the vaccine front, the stock market just posted its worst weekly performance in three months after Reddit traders squeezed Wall Street’s elite out of billions of dollars, sending prices of heavily shorted stocks up to atmospheric new highs and fueling concerns over market frothiness–but experts seem in broad agreement that the bull market can rage on. 

Key Facts

Investor sentiment took a massive hit over the “relentless option buying by retail investors taking advantage of a structural weakness in market,” Oanda Senior Market Analyst Edward Moya said Friday, noting that the Dow’s 1,000-point plunge this week was the index’s worst weekly loss since election uncertainty tanked sentiment in late October. 

“The market is not broken, but recent events have revealed some cracks,” says Commonwealth Financial Network Chief Investment Officer Brad McMillan, who thinks one likely result of the week’s frenzy could be that the price of options–which helped fuel some of the outsized meme-stock demand–rise to help curb “price hacking” in the future.

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McMillan eschews concerns from other experts that the Reddit-fueled price mania could be a sign the market is in the middle of a bubble akin to the dot-com era in the late 1990s, but he says “crackdown” by regulators is likely.

The big question surrounding the week’s short squeeze remains around how regulators–and prosecutors–will respond to the volatility, with lawmakers urging the SEC to act quickly on investigations into potential market manipulation by retail traders, brokerages and hedge funds alike. 

Like McMillan, LPL Financial Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick is also adamant that the week’s events are not indicative of a market bubble or impending correction, though he concedes recent events point to “excessive optimism in certain segments of the equity markets,” particularly in big-cap names losing capital from institutions covering shorts at sizable losses.

“Don’t forget, overall market breadth is extremely healthy, and the credit markets are functioning just fine—we don’t see a repeat of 1999 like some are claiming,” says Detrick.

Crucial Quote 

“The damage this week is real, but it is also part of the game: Hedge funds and banks routinely make mistakes and suffer for it, and traders losing money is not a sign that the system is broken,” says McMillan. “Another source of worry is that somehow markets have become less reliable because of the price surges–perhaps so, but the dot-com boom didn’t destroy the capital markets, and the distortions were much greater then than now.”

Surprising Fact

Meme stocks GameStop and AMC skyrocketed 400% and 275%, respectively, this week, while the Dow, S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq all fell about 3%.

What We Don’t Know

How long the retail trading frenzy may continue. Meme stocks largely surged Friday, and Erlam says “a solution for this entire market dislocation will take time, which suggests this insane trading will continue a little while longer.”

Key Background

The bull market rallied to new highs earlier this month in light of fiscal stimulus expectations, vaccine optimism and corporate earnings that keep surpassing expectations. Democrats this week have indicated they’ll move forward with stimulus even if they can’t muster up much Republican support, and–though disappointing–Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine candidate results mean another vaccine could reach the market soon, notes Vital Knowledge Media Founder Adam Crisafulli. Meanwhile, big firms like Apple, Microsoft and Tesla all smashed earnings expectations this week.

 

What To Watch For

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has asked the SEC to respond to a list of questions about its GameStop response by February 5. That includes details over whether Reddit traders, hedge funds and brokerages may have influenced the market. With regards to the Reddit crowd, veteran trader Richard Smith, who heads up the Foundation for the Study of Cycles, said Thursday they could “absolutely” be vulnerable to regulatory scrutiny from a pump-and-dump standpoint, but he says it could be years before the mechanisms behind their market influence are leveled. McMillan, meanwhile, says he sees evidence of the “pump,” but doesn’t believe they’re looking to sell anytime soon.

Further Reading

‘Bubble Fueled By Cynicism’: Meme Stocks Surge Again As Reddit Traders Pile Back In—But Dow Falls 300 Points (Forbes)

The Hedge Fund Genius Who Started GameStop’s 4,800% Rally Now Calls It “Unnatural, Insane, And Dangerous” (Forbes)

Robinhood Raises $1 Billion In Emergency Funds As Platform Struggles With Reddit-Fuelled Trading Surge (Forbes)

Not Just GameStop: Here Are The Meme Stocks WallStreetBets Traders Are Pumping Up During This ‘Extremely Erratic’ Reddit Rally (Forbes)

Warren Demands SEC Response To GameStop Frenzy After It Vows To Protect Retail Traders From ‘Abusive Or Manipulative’ Activity (Forbes) Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip

Jonathan Ponciano

Jonathan Ponciano

I’m a reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business journalism and economics while working for UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School as a marketing and communications assistant. Before Forbes, I spent a summer reporting on the L.A. private sector for Los Angeles Business Journal and wrote about publicly traded North Carolina companies for NC Business News Wire. Reach out at jponciano@forbes.com.

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Business News 2.8K subscribers Despite blowout corporate earnings and more solid news on the vaccine front, the stock market just posted its worst weekly performance in three months after Reddit traders squeezed Wall Street’s elite out of billions of dollars, sending prices of heavily shorted stocks up to atmospheric new highs and fueling concerns over market frothiness–but experts seem in broad agreement that the bull market can rage on.”The damage this week is real, but it is also part of the game: Hedge funds and banks routinely make mistakes and suffer for it, and traders losing money is not a sign that the system is broken,” says McMillan. “Another source of worry is that somehow markets have become less reliable because of the price surges–perhaps so, but the dot-com boom didn’t destroy the capital markets, and the distortions were much greater then than now.”

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DHA to begin administering Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine mediaoffice.ae – Today[…] the Sinopharm vaccine is part of the DHA’s keenness to ensure the availability of COVID-19 vaccination services to all segments of the community, especially the older age groups who are considered to be […] the DHA’s Contact Centre will reach out to those who already have pre-registered appointments for vaccination […] Al Khaja, CEO of DHA’s Clinical Support Services and Nursing Sector and Chairperson of the COVID-19 Vaccination Steering Committee […]0

ACT Cash Management Conference 2021 | The Association of Corporate Treasurers http://www.treasurers.org – Today[…] Positioned just after Brexit and as the world rolls out the vaccination for COVID-19, it is an ideal opportunity to look forward via a mix of keynotes, panel discussion […]N/A

LISTING OF DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH PRESS RELEASES http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov – Today[…] at a County site received the date and location of their second dose appointment on their vaccination card, which will be 21 days after their first dose if they received a Pfizer vaccine, and 28 day […]1Pressure mounts on Ursula von der Leyen as shortcomings brutally exposed by EU vaccine fiasco http://www.telegraph.co.uk – Today[…] The inconvenient fact that the EU’s vaccination rollout was lagging far behind Brexit Britain would soon be forgotten in a flood of up to 40 […] to store jab from the British-Swedish company, which had seen the bloc fall further behind in the vaccination race […]   Spain announced that its vaccination programme would be delayed and were said to be increasingly impatient with the slow roll out […]14

What are Georgia’s new guidelines on international travel? http://www.agenda.ge – Today[…] present at the border a document that proves that he/she underwent a complete course of coronavirus vaccination […]71

UK imams mobilise to counter Covid-19 vaccine disinformation http://www.trtworld.com – Today[…] in Europe by the virus after registering nearly 95,000 deaths, is relying on its biggest-ever vaccination effort to end repeated cycles of lockdowns and restrictions […] When she received her vaccination, she posted a video in Urdu on social media aimed at the language’s speakers living in Britain […] A vaccination centre has even been set up in a mosque in Birmingham, Britain’s second biggest city, which has […]1

Seeking your views on the COVID-19 vaccination | Blogs | Royal College of Nursing http://www.rcn.org.uk – Today[…] The COVID-19 vaccination roll out programme continues to dominate the news headlines […]   We have an extensive set of online FAQs related to the vaccination programme – these address issues such as changes to the schedule, vaccination and fertility, vaccination in pregnancy and more […] COVID-19 vaccination. COVID-19 vaccination FAQs […]13

Sfnewsfeed.us – BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (1/28)- With the return… | Facebook http://www.facebook.com – Today[…] But in this case it is accompanied by a massive testing policy and the vaccination is accelerated, if the labs want it […]0

Pak to send special plane to China to receive first tranche of anti-COVID-19 vaccine | Health http://www.devdiscourse.com – Today[…] on the strategy of vaccine administration, said on Saturday that the country is geared up for the vaccination programme […] at the NCOC with provincial and district level vaccine administration across the country for vaccination in a systematic manner, it said […]0

Changes to the schedule for the weeks of Feb. 1 and March 1 myemail.constantcontact.com – Today[…] pleased and proud to announce that Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South will be serving as COVID-19 vaccination sites for our employees and vendors, the employees from our feeder districts and the La Grange Area […]     In order to accommodate the vaccination process and ensure that the students in our hybrid model continue to receive the maximum amount o […] This decision will be based upon issues such as the teacher’s vaccination schedule […]

Reddit Bans ‘The_Donald’ Forum Amid Broad Social Media Crackdown

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(Reuters) – Social media site Reddit on Monday shut down r/The_Donald, a forum which long served as a popular online home base for fans of President Donald Trump, saying it violated the site’s hate speech rules.

Other sites also conducted high-profile sweeps: Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) live-streaming platform Twitch temporarily banned Trump’s official channel, saying it violated Twitch’s policy on hateful speech, while Google’s YouTube suspended six leading white nationalist accounts.

Reddit Chief Executive Steve Huffman said in a post detailing changes to the company’s content policies that communities and users promoting hate would be barred. Reddit was banning about 2,000 subreddits, the majority of which were inactive, he said.

In response to the actions by Reddit and Twitch, a Trump campaign spokesman directed people to Trump’s campaign app “to hear directly from the president.” He did not directly address the sites’ actions.

Huffman said earlier this month that Reddit would strengthen its content policy, after Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian resigned from the firm’s board and former CEO Ellen Pao criticized its handling of r/The_Donald.

Reddit had “quarantined” the forum last year, citing threats of violence. The new list of banned subreddits also included the left-wing r/ChapoTrapHouse, which Huffman said consistently hosted rule-breaking content. It had an average of 42,949 daily active users, according to Reddit.

Reddit’s list showed r/The_Donald had an average of 7,780 daily active users, down from its heyday around the 2016 presidential election when it regularly drew hundreds of thousands of visitors each day.

Only about 200 of the banned forums listed by Reddit had more than 10 daily users. “All communities on Reddit must abide by our content policy in good faith. We banned r/The_Donald because it has not done so, despite every opportunity,” Huffman said.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Social media companies’ content policies have been in the spotlight this month, as Facebook Inc (FB.O) faced an employee walkout and an ad boycott over its hands-off handling of inflammatory posts amid nationwide anti-racism protests and ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

Earlier this month, Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) began placing some of Trump’s messages behind warning labels, while Snap Inc (SNAP.N) said it would no longer promote Trump’s account in its Discover section.

YouTube said Monday it was terminating six accounts widely credited with building support for far-right views online over hate speech violations, including channels run by Richard Spencer, Stefan Molyneux and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

Molyneux tweeted in response that YouTube had suspended “the largest philosophy conversation the world has ever known.” Spencer said he would appeal the decision.

Twitch, a site primarily used for video game livestreaming which Trump joined in October, said it had identified two streams from Trump’s account that violated its policies.

One was a rebroadcast of a 2016 rally in which Trump said Mexico was sending rapists to the United States. The other was of his rally in Tulsa earlier this month, when he hypothesized about a “very tough hombre” breaking into a woman’s house.

A Twitch spokeswoman said the platform had told “the president’s team” last year that there were no exceptions on the site for political or newsworthy content that broke its rules.

In May, Twitch announced a new advisory council to improve safety, focusing on areas like harassment and protection of marginalized groups.

Last week, it said it would begin issuing permanent suspensions as part of investigations into allegations of sexual abuse and harassment involving Twitch streamers.

By Elizabeth Culliford, Katie Paul; Additional reporting by Neha Malara; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Leslie Adler

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Reddit co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman confesses to modifying users’ comments in a pro-Trump forum

Reddit’s New Blockchain Community Points Can Be Controlled ‘Just Like Bitcoin’

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One of the largest online networks, Reddit, has announced a new community points system based on the Ethereum blockchain.

In a bid to create a more user-centric social media platform — “a free frontier” — Reddit has introduced its new community points system built on top of the Ethereum blockchain.

In a slide presentation shared Wednesday, May 13th, Reddit announced that Redditors will now be able to earn rewards in the form of ERC-20 tokens based on Ethereum blockchain for creating engaging content on the platform. This confirms claims that many users made in April about Reddit coming up with a blockchain-based reward system.

Users will have the freedom to either save their community points or utilize them to buy premium community features such as badges, custom emojis, and GIFs in comments.

Each user’s community points will be visible beside their username in the comments section to add more transparency regarding their activity and reputation on the platform.

Community controls the reward system

According to the announcement, Reddit community members will exercise full control over community points. While Reddit karma will provide a basis of a user’s engagement within the community, the community will be the ultimate decision-maker as to who receives what amount of points for their contribution.

Reddit also assured users that it has no access or control over their community points, as points will be based on a blockchain and independently stored in users’ wallets “just like Bitcoin!”

“Neither Reddit nor moderators can take your Points away or decide what you do with them. It’s all up to you,” they wrote.

Moving forward

At present, the community point system is in its beta phase and is based on Rinkeby — an Ethereum testnet. During this period, Reddit will conduct experiments within Reddit communities to take inputs from community members and take a more wholesome approach towards finalizing how the reward system will work.

After the beta phase, Reddit will move the community point system to the Ethereum mainnet and all points of users will be carried over, which they will have to reclaim.

With more than 1.5 billion monthly visits, the integration of an Ethereum-based points system into Reddit could prove to be a major boon for the wider adoption of cryptocurrencies.

By:

Source: https://cointelegraph.com

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In a bid to create a more user-centric social media platform — “a free frontier” — Reddit has introduced its new community points system built on top of the Ethereum blockchain. In a slide presentation shared Wednesday, May 13th, Reddit announced that Redditors will now be able to earn rewards in the form of ERC-20 tokens based on Ethereum blockchain for creating engaging content on the platform.

Goodbye Facebook Pages, Hello Reddit

Goodbye Facebook Pages, Hello Reddit!

Facebook Page views are drying up and a recently announced Facebook News Feed algorithm change all but guarantees this traffic channel will evaporate for brand accounts. But as one door closes, another opens.

It’s Time to Take a Closer Look at Reddit

I have been on Reddit since 2006 and the most common complaints I hear from many companies and individuals is that Reddit is too hard to participate in, looks too simple, or isn’t friendly to brands.

Reddit isn’t harder, it’s more real.

If you cannot succeed on Reddit in connecting, discussing, or getting exposure, it’s because you aren’t really making an effort to connect with Redditors.

Companies, celebrities, or individuals that are successful on Reddit follow the same principles you need to succeed in any social gathering.

Approach Reddit as a place to connect with like-minded individuals.

Don’t blast out self-serving messages and hope for some benefit.

While Facebook Pages are continuing to become less visible, Reddit continues to grow and evolve.

Reddit has released a number of exciting new features in the last few months that make it even more enticing for individuals and brands to participate in their communities, such as:

  • Posting to your own profile.
  • One-to-one chat features.
  • The ability for all subreddits to get to the front page and become popular.
  • The follow functionality.
  • A user-friendly redesign.
  • The continued growth of the community.

Here are some screenshots of the new design, click to view larger:

New Design with Classic ViewNew Design with Classic View

New Design with Card ViewNew Design with Card View

New Design for SubredditsNew Design for Subreddits

And here are some recent stats that Reddit was kind enough to provide us:

reddit2018

Ignoring Reddit for the last five years wasn’t the smartest choice, but continuing to ignore it in the future is just insanity.

Where Are Facebook Pages Going?

Last year, 94 percent of marketers reported they’re using Facebook to market their business.

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So there’s a good chance you’re affected by this news.

Facebook is looking to decrease the visibility that Pages get in users’ timelines, eventually limiting public content further via the News Feed algorithm or relegating public content to a new, dedicated tab in the Facebook interface.

(Pages with a capital “P” refers to the account type secured not by private individuals but rather by businesses, public figures, community groups and a few other designations.)

What gives?

Think about how you use your personal Facebook account.

Facebook is the social network where family and friends go to stay connected.

Even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in his latest post says that they have “always put friends and family at the core of the experience.”

The change to the News Feed algorithm is the final nail in the coffin of organic Facebook marketing as page views across the network have been dropping for years.

Just as marketers are facing decreased organic visibility in Facebook, Reddit is rolling out a fresh new design and interactive new features that borrow from the conventions we’re used to from other social channels while offering unique advantages of a highly engaged community of users keen to learn.

If Facebook isn’t forcing your hand, it’s certainly handing you an invitation to give Reddit a shot.

What Are Reddit Profile Pages?

Reddit is stepping into the void that Facebook is leaving open.

On Reddit, businesses can establish a branded presence within an engaged social community.

Reddit has rolled out a redesign to the way users can establish a profile page on the site. This is in addition to the current functionality where content is posted to theme-based subreddit communities.

With profile pages, users submit content to their own profile pages. And users can follow profiles to see that profile content added to their front page, or aggregated feed view.

With profile pages, businesses can essentially start building branded accounts, growing followers, and achieving goals similar to what Facebook Pages have provided, maybe with an even better and more engaged audience.

Brands on Reddit with profile pages include Audi Sport USA, WWE, and Nintendo of America.

Here’s Nintendo of America’s profile page.

Who Uses Reddit? Your Customers

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest each captivated marketers’ attention over the years, passing the baton as social media’s latest shiny new object.

Not long ago we heard that Pinterest was an amazing traffic driver. What about now?

Similarly, Twitter was the hot thing for a while. Now only a handful of marketers are active there.

Facebook has been the 800-pound gorilla, but now Pages views are declining.

Now look at Reddit.

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Where social has largely been driven by hype, Reddit has demonstrated real ROI when you put in the investment.

Reddit is where your target audience has always been and its growing.

Check out the growth of unique visitors and page views.

growthchartreddit

Reddit users have a median household income higher than the average in the U.S. at nearly $68,000 a year, compared to $59,000 a year. That means Reddit users have bigger discretionary spending budgets.

They’re well-educated as a group, with 78 percent claiming college education – compared to the third of Americans with a bachelor’s degree.

Nearly two-thirds of Reddit users are looking for news when they come to the site. That makes Reddit the dominant social site for users looking to learn and engage in debate.

5 Reasons the Time for Reddit Is Now

In the last few years, we’ve seen five key thrusts on Reddit that show how it is evolving to hold a bright future for brands.

1. The 10% self-promotion guideline was relaxed last year.

There was a rule of thumb on Reddit that you should limit your posts from your own site to 10 percent or less.

During an AMA (Ask Me Anything) last year, Reddit CEO Steve Hoffman suggested that the 10 percent rule may not make sense anymore.

Rather than blind adherence to numbers, Reddit asks users to provide quality 100 percent of the time, over anything else.

Obviously this opens the door to the presence of businesses.

2. Time a post waits in moderation is way down.

There was a time when the majority of subreddits put a moderation period on all posts before a human moderator released a post for public viewing.

Moderation on posts happened roughly 70 percent of the time – users would have to message mods to release a post.

Now 90 percent of content is going live without moderation; moderators are more likely to get involved if they’re removing a post.

That’s a shift that, to me, says that Reddit will trust until you prove you’re untrustworthy.

3. We’ve seen more acceptance of brands moving onto Reddit.

Brands can be active on Reddit as long as the interactions are meaningful.

Reddit isn’t anti-marketing and it’s understood that every company needs to make a buck.

What matters is the way you manage yourself there.

4. The new peer-to-peer real-time chat allow more interactions.

On top of other named changes, Reddit created a real-time chat function on the site.

Now you can reach out and talk to multiple people.

This provides options for more interaction with other users.

Reddit is open to adding social functionality and to enable direct engagements – an environment that any marketer would jump to.

5. The new profile pages give users’ enhanced flexibility to post what they want.

If you’re one of the ~400 million active monthly users on Reddit today, you might be wondering how all these changes affect the way you use the site.

Profile pages won’t change the way you interact with Reddit at all.

As usual, follow or subscribe to what you like. Unfollow what you don’t like.

The enhancement here is that the new profile pages fix an old problem that Reddit had.

Content to the site had to be submitted to a subreddit; subreddits are privately run by a team of moderators who set often-quirky random rules. A rule might be along the lines of “must contain ‘cat’ in the title.”

When users can submit to their own profile, the user don’t have to follow anyone’s rules.

When you submit to your own profile, people following you can see your content in their feed.

In effect, Reddit has created a function that allows users to follow brands. And, if popular, that content can show up in r/all.

The new profile pages for Reddit users is available now.

Summary

Just as Facebook Pages are losing traction, Reddit profiles will give brands and organizations a new managed presence on a highly engaged social platform.

Reddit has a reputation among digital marketers as being a difficult social media channel for businesses to figure out.

But let me ask you this: are thousands of visitors to your site, branding, conversions, links or subscriptions to your list outcomes that are worth your time?

The key to succeeding on Reddit is about really becoming a Redditor, not gaming or spamming, and realizing that Reddit is the community you want to get in front of and be a part of.

Here are some tips from a presentation I did to help you get started.

Hurricane Traffic Surge – How To Push Out Traffic Through REDDIT

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When anticipating a large traffic burst on your site, it can be difficult to measure how your site will perform when under pressure. There are a number of factors which can determine your success through the surge of traffic, but the main area to focus on is the overall cacheability of your site.

 

The more cacheable your site is, the easier it is for the server to serve each page request. This means the site can scale to support more traffic at once.

 

WP Engine’s page caching layer is purged every 10 minutes. This means the server doesn’t have to build each page as “new” each time a visitor requests it.

 

Caching offloads a lot of the work the server would normally have to go through to generate each request on your site, meaning it can handle more page requests simultaneously.

 

One thing you can do to help combat and offset the number of uncached pages on your site is to extend the default cache expiration time. You can use the WP Engine Advanced Cache plugin to configure cache settings for optimal cacheability.

Reddit Marketing Secrets 2.0 PLR

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Reddit Marketing Secrets 2.0 is an evergreen product in which people who use reddit (Over 22.7 Million Users) in your local area would like to hear what you have to say about your business.

Reddit Marketing Secrets 2.0 is the best way to build relationship with your audience in person especially when you want to make cash selling products and services. It allows our audience to build a bonded relationship with your subscribers, customers, and loyal followers.

This product comes at the perfect time as PLR is one of the hottest niche everyone should tap into. This is NOT just a regular “Mickey mouse” Reddit PLR products you have seen on the Internet. It is a comprehensive training guide that allows your audience to build their business around Reddit.

In addition, each part of the course focuses on the MOST basic approach on taking the clients from doing market research, create a Reddit group, utilizing Reddit features, attract followers, get potential clients to meet you in person, and much more.

This course will provide your audience with a step-by-step guidance with a simple to understand screenshot. This allows YOU to look good in front of your audience. In return, it allows you to build LOYALTY among your clients.

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Evil Reddit Magician

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The Evil Reddit Magician Special is a professional training system for people who want to know how to build and develop their business strongly.We’ll walk you through what Reddit is, the history of the site, and the unique userbase that is on Reddit. In this Section we’ll prepare you for the things to watch out for on Reddit and why this traffic source is a gamechanger for those that master it.

We teach you how to isolate the right sections of Reddit to do your marketing and how to make sure you know how to take advantage of each of them for maximum exposure to your product and brand. This section will help you nail down where to spend your time on Reddit so that you have a marketing plan built and ready that feeds your sales every month.

You can’t just plaster Reddit with links to your product. This is a great way to destroy your brand and never be able to use Reddit again for marketing. In this section we’ll show you exactly how to structure content that Reddit users will love and “upvote” so that you can get maximum positive exposure and make more sales.

Reddit users make up a community that is like no other and if you don’t watch it, they will eat you alive. In this module we cover the beginning of an actual marketing campaign and how to ride the wave. We’ll show you how each Reddit Post is like a product launch and how to make sure you run it effortlessly and get all the benefits (without all the headaches).

The users of Reddit form a community. And this community is not similar to other communities. Thus, if you don’t watch it, they will eat you alive.This is going to show how to create an effective marketing strategy, how to start an actual marketing campaign, and how to ride the wave.

Moreover, you can see the way that each Reddit Post is like a product launch, and how to let you run it effortlessly and get more benefits.

ReddiTraffic

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ReddiTraffic is the world’s first standalone app that lets you quickly identify the most viral and popular content and then share this content on your blog, FB and Twitter feed. The entire process is hands off, so your content factory is doing all the hard work for you behind the scenes.

More online traffic goes to Reddit.com on a Daily basis, than LinkedIN, Instagram, Pinterest, Craig’s List… Basically it’s one of the Most Popular sites in the World where the Highest Quality ‘Trending/Viral’ Content can be found.That’s why Reddit is known as ‘the Front Page of the Web’.

  • Leverage the World’s Largest Crowd Voted Content Source
  • Set and Forget Automation of Content
  • AI Intelligence Extracts Summary For WP Post
  • The Most Brainless Way to Build Your Social Authority

Very easy to link your FB, Twitter and WP Blogs to the software and then just specify the niche and let the software do the rest! It’ll find and post the best/hottest content from that niche from Reddit’s Highly Active platform, Dramatically Boosting up Your Engagement, Traffic and Profits! =)

AND ReddiTraffic has an Artificial Intelligence engine to reword posts for your WordPress Blogs especially, since that’s what Google Loves, Fresh Content. Google rewards your Blogs by ranking it higher in SEO results. =)Image

It’s completely Set & Forget and you can go off and run your business to it’s fullest while ReddiTraffic does all the work! =)

No more Wasting your Time & Money… while Boosting the Profits for ANY Marketing you do. An Engaged, Active Audience will check out your Marketing, and you don’t want it any other way..!

Using ReddiTraffic to automate your content posting is a painless process, as you have seen in the video above.Read on to discover more of what reddiTraffic can do for you.

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