Google deletes 100,000 bad reviews of Robinhood from its app store

Google removed over 100,000 angry reviews of the stock-trading app Robinhood on its app store after a furious response to the company’s move to block users Thursday from buying or sharing stocks that were trending on a popular Reddit forum, The Verge and Gizmodo reported.

After users on Reddit called on others to leave one-star reviews over Robinhood’s decision to prevent the trading of stocks in companies that were popularized on the subreddit called r/WallStreetBets, negative reviews flooded the Google Play store. These stocks included GameStop, BlackBerry, and AMC.

A Google spokesperson confirmed to Gizmodo that it had deleted the reviews and defended the move overnight, saying that it has rules against “coordinated or inorganic reviews.” Gizmodo‘s report noted that it then asked the spokesperson how someone could determine negative reviews as “inorganic” when so many people seem reasonably upset at Robinhood, as phrased in the report. The tech publication reported that Google “stopped responding to Gizmodo’s emails after that inquiry.”

Furthermore, the tech giant’s policies prohibit “fake ratings” that are “meant to manipulate an app’s average rating or top reviews,” according to The Hill. Likewise, app developers are not permitted to delete reviews or try to change their app’s rating by bombarding it with five-star reviews.

This news comes after a class-action lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of New York against Robinhood on Thursday for its decision to block users from buying stock in GameStop.

At the same time, politicians at both ideological extremes have been united in their anger at Robinhood and in their desire for the government to look into the company for its Thursday decision, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

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You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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