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UK’s Robin Hood Society gains 33k Twitter fans after US stock fiasco

‘I hear you know about stocks?’: UK-based Robin Hood Society gains 33,000 Twitter followers after users confuse it with US trading app used by armchair investors behind Wall Street chaos

  • UK’s World Wide Robin Hood Society promotes the legendary heroic outlaw 
  • It now has 37,000 Twitter followers after starting yesterday with less than 400
  • Traders have been using Robinhood app in US amid the Reddit stocks frenzy

A British society promoting Robin Hood has gained more than 33,000 Twitter followers in a day after people confused it with US stock trading app Robinhood.

The World Wide Robin Hood Society is an online-based group that promotes the legendary heroic outlaw and his connections with Nottingham and Sherwood Forest.

The organisation which uses the handle @RobinHood started yesterday with less than 400 followers but gained 33,000 in 24 hours and now has more than 37,000.

It comes after traders using the Robinhood app faced with restrictions when trying to buy stocks as brokers began to curb trading of shares linked to the Reddit frenzy.

Two women stand next to a bronze Robin Hood statue in Nottingham on October 9 last year

Online trading platform Robinhood has restricted trading in stocks that have soared recently

Online trading platform Robinhood has restricted trading in stocks that have soared recently

The Robin Hood Society tried to clear up the confusion among its new followers with a tweet yesterday which said: ‘Lovely to have all these new followers.

‘Can we just check that you know that you’re following The World Wide Robin Hood Society in Nottingham and not the Robinhood app? If so, a big welcome from Sherwood.’  

What is the Reddit shares trading frenzy?

GameStop is one of the most heavily shorted stocks on the market, with more contracts to sell the stock short than there are shares available.

‘Short selling’ allows an investor to profit when the price of a share drops. Short sellers borrow a stock, sell the stock, and then buy the stock back to return it to the lender.

Reddit users saw an opportunity for what is known as a ‘short squeeze’, in which rising share prices force short sellers to buy more of the stock to cover their losses.

Users of the Reddit group WallStreetBets were urging members to buy and hold GameStop stock, locking up the supply of shares and forcing desperate hedge funds to bid higher and higher to cover their shorts.

It is a bubble that could burst at any time, if investors decide to cash out and a selling spree ensues. Most professional investors agree that GameStop’s earning potential does not justify the current share price.

This prompted much amusement among its followers, with one saying: ‘The unintentional comedy of billionaires whining about income equality leading to thousands of new followers for the Robin Hood Society is somehow perfect.

‘Bringing stories of stealing from the rich to give to the poor across centuries is fantastic.’

Another added: ‘Great, can we get your assistance in tying the other Robinhood to a wooden stake to throw rotten fruit at?’

And a third tweeted a picture of a medieval stocks device, joking: ‘I hear you know about stocks?’

Despite being pleased with the wider publicity, the society did encourage those with ‘grievances’ to contact the Robinhood app directly.

It later tweeted: ‘Here at the World Wide Robin Hood Society, we rob the rich to give to the poor.

‘Much as we’d like to help with your grievances, @robinhoodapp doesn’t reply to us either, so please can you message them directly! Thank you.’

Lisa Douglas, who runs the social media for World Wide Robin Hood Society, told BBC News: ‘What we’re going to do now is really build on the website and build of the Twitter side of it, because if you’ve got this many followers you’ve got a responsibility to keep them entertained and informed. 

‘We’re going to be busy I think over the next few months.’

It comes after investors using sites and apps such as Robinhood and Trading212 reacted angrily after finding they could not buy stocks, including Gamestop and AMC Entertainment. 

Both stocks have rocketed in value over recent days as traders using social media platform Reddit have banded together to squeeze out short-selling hedge funds.

But amid concerns that some investors could be unwittingly letting themselves in for huge losses, some platforms have clamped down, sending stocks tumbling.

Several lawsuits have been filed against Robinhood in the US. In one in New York, a user said the company removed Gamestop during an ‘unprecedented stock rise’.

In Chicago, one user said the halt of trading in Blackberry, Nokia and AMC ‘was to protect institutional investment at the detriment of retail customers’.

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