Each week Liberty Nation straps on its Personal Protective Equipment and dives into the TwitterZone to bring you the biggest news, the most outlandish arguments, and the real Zeitgeist of what is taking place in the internet’s wildest frontier.
Twitter has been buzzing with discussion over the stock market insanity that occurred last week. Originating on Reddit and spreading through the internet, the scheme involved online trolls artificially pumping up the stock valuation of companies like GameStop, AMC, Blackberry, and Bed Bath & Beyond through mass buying in order to stick it to hedge funds on Wall Street. Evidence shows that the online movement was born in the anger directed at Melvin Capital and the suspicious short positions of the notorious Andrew Left of Citron Research Group. Over time, this turned into a semi-coordinated effort to take down the hedge fund and short-seller for good.
While the Wallstreetbets movement sparked on Reddit, countless other retail investors boarded the hype train as they saw the price of GameStop shares rise more than 1,700%, joining in once the news began to trend on social media sites like Reddit, Twitter, and TikTok. People of various political leanings united in support of what they saw as a rebuke of Wall Street’s reckless speculation. Despite this, we can always count on Twitter to bring the most outlandish opinions to prominence, and this unified moment in internet culture was no different.
In classical progressive faction, leftist activists on Twitter began to develop their own origin stories for this radical moment in internet history. Despite the Wallstreetbets subreddit being full of capitalists eager to speculate for profit on new and old companies, left-wing darlings have tried to shift the narrative of this wild moment. The radical left has chosen to portray this sudden rise in retail investors as a working-class uprising against a capitalist society. Some have called for a new Occupy Wall Street movement, and others claim that this unprecedented stock market volatility is an example of late-stage capitalism’s failure. Different factions express varying opinions, but, ultimately, these events can be summed up as a demonstration of social media’s capability for revenge.
Throughout this situation, it has become clear that populism continues to reign king, as these events have amplified the voices of the populist right and left along with alternate media sources. Fundamental misinterpretations of these events coming from the mainstream media further emphasize their out-of-touch messaging. It has become quite obvious how the discourse of current events can be manipulated by social media, with various narratives being formed by different factions to drive home their positions to both rival and sympathetic minds.
Despite the shifting messages behind the Wallstreetbets madness, one thing is certain: Wall Street’s reputation has gone down several notches among a large portion of the American people. The movement began with accusations of naked shorting from hedge funds and the absence of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) oversight on firms colluding to destroy the future of any companies they choose. Elevating these speculators and hedge funds with media appearances on networks like CNBC allowed them to manipulate stock prices with little to no consequences. The demand for SEC regulation of social media platforms like Reddit, Twitter, and Discord from the elite ruling class show their intense fear of “the people.” No longer can hedge funds pay measly fines imposed by regulators and expect their sins to be forgiven. In the age of social media, the potential repercussions could be as dire as nefarious speculators losing billions of dollars if they anger the wrong online communities.
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