Reddit group behind GameStop stock jump briefly goes private

The Reddit group that became the discussion center for amateur online traders who fueled GameStop’s stock surge this week briefly went private on Wednesday. 

The r/WallStreetBets (WSB) forum, which now has more than 3 million members, briefly displayed a page Wednesday for nonmembers that read, “You must be invited to visit this community.” 

“We are experiencing technical difficulties based on unprecedented scale as a result of the newfound interest in WSB,” the page continued, according to CNBC. “We are unable to ensure Reddit’s content policy and the WSB rules are enforceable without a technology platform that can support automation of this enforcement. WSB will be back.”

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The subreddit group became public again around 7:45 p.m. ET, though moderators continued to lock the GameStop thread, with users now unable to post new comments. 

Reddit confirmed to The Hill that the WSB subreddit’s moderators decided to temporarily make the forum private Wednesday. 

"Reddit’s site-wide policies prohibit posting illegal content or soliciting or facilitating illegal transactions,” a Reddit spokesperson said in a statement. “We will review and cooperate with valid law enforcement investigations or actions as needed.” 

Several of the Reddit group’s top posts include screenshots of investors’ brokerage accounts, showing substantial returns from trading in GameStop and other companies. Some users have also posted profane language aimed at hedge funds and traditional investors using a tactic called short selling, or a bet that a stock’s price will fall.

Online messaging platform Discord on Wednesday said it had banned the WSB server

A Discord spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill that the company decided to remove the server due to users sharing “hateful and discriminatory content after repeated warnings,” adding that it “did not ban this server due to financial fraud related to GameStop or other stocks.”

Users in the WSB chat have gained increased attention in recent days as amateur investors caused stock in GameStop to jump to $347 per share Wednesday. 

The share price for GameStop, a video game retailer struggling even before the coronavirus pandemic, has risen more than 1,800 percent in January.