Gaming GameStop: Faculty Experts Weigh in on Reddit and Meme Trading
Securities law scholars Professors John C. Coffee Jr. and Joshua Mitts offer context and commentary on volatile trading driven by investors who coordinated through social media.
In 2019, Joshua Mitts, associate professor of law, published a paper focusing on the rise of short activism on Twitter and other social media. Last week, his predictions played out in real time as retail investors, led by members of a Reddit community, roiled the stock market through aggressive and coordinated purchases of stock options for companies that had been targeted by short-sellers, including billion-dollar hedge funds. After organizing on social media, individual investors drove up the value of companies, including GameStop, AMC Entertainment, and Nokia.
As broker-dealers like Robinhood and Interactive Brokers restricted users’ ability to trade certain stocks—and the value of those stocks plunged one day later—lawmakers called for hearings and investigations into the trading platforms’ behavior.
How should securities regulators react to this duel between institutional short-sellers and individual investors? Seeking answers, news outlets across the country sought commentary and legal analysis from Mitts and John C. Coffee Jr., Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law, a longtime leading securities law expert. See more from each professor below.