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r/WallStreetBets Is Doing Something Idiotic Again
The Gen Z libertarian sociopaths over at r/WallStreetBets are currently in a war with an investment firm called Citron Research. The last 24 hours have been a complete mess and, unsurprisingly, the whole thing involves the video game retailer GameStop. I’m going to do my best to explain what’s going on here, but I’ll admit upfront that I don’t have that firm of a grasp on how day trading works.
Citron Research is a California-based short seller and they have been shorting GameStop — betting that the retailer’s stock value would go down, essentially. Here’s a Yahoo! Finance interview about it. Citron believes that GameStop is not a healthy company and it should not have as high a valuation as it does. The heart of the argument, honestly, sounds right to me — GameStop is operating 5,000 physical locations in a pandemic, mostly in already-dead-or-dying shopping malls, and many people do not buy physical video games anymore.
r/WallStreetBets users noticed that Citron was shorting GameStop and, because they’re all radicalized post-Gamergate nihilists, decided to bet against Citron mainly out of spite, but also because the subreddit has been “longing” GameStop forever.
The r/WallStreetBets GameStop rally caused the company’s stock to spike over 69% (lol) today. If you head over to the subreddit right now, the front page is nothing but GameStop hype.
Citron was planning to do a livestream Friday explaining why GameStop should be shorted, but ultimately canceled because someone attempted to hack into Citron’s Twitter account. Citron Research partner Andrew Left did release a version of what he wanted to livestream — a list of why GameStop stock should sink to $20 a share — on YouTube today. The comments on the video are obviously turned off.
This isn’t the first time r/WallStreetBets has deployed a large-scale 4chan-style astro turfing campaign on the stock market. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigated the subreddit over insider trading allegations in 2017. The subreddit’s users have basically figured out how to work together as a community to rearrange the raw source code of capitalism into a shitty video game. The result is a cascade of speculation bubbles on random nonsense.
As much as r/WallStreetBets’ very existence is a frighting condemnation of late-stage capitalism, it does have a certain purity to it. There’s something almost reassuring about the pretense-less acceptance that corporate social media platforms and the stock market run on the same basic machinery and if you can create enough hype around something, through memes, conspiracy theories, and harassment campaigns, you can manifest it into reality via capital. It is both terrifying and liberating to look clear-eyed into the meaningless void at the heart of modern life and accept it for what it is.
That said, if you’re thinking about putting some money on GameStop today, just know that once this war with Citron is over and the redditors lose interest, that thing is going to fall real hard, real fast. Probably worth sitting this one out!
Facebook Debuts Its “Not Our Problem Anymore” Bureau
On Thursday, Facebook announced that it would be referring the suspension of former President Trump’s account to the new Oversight Board. The board formed last year and the Trump case will be their first big project. Facebook is saying that whatever the Oversight Board decides will be binding. This makes sense. Facebook’s entire corporate strategy is to offload as much responsibility as possible, either by psychologically torturing their underpaid contractor moderators, poorly automating away any large and meaningful moderation duties, or just outright denying they have anything to even take responsibility for when their products cause real world violence. Oh, look at that — Facebook spent more on lobbying in 2020 than any other tech company.
The Oversight Board is an independent organization and its members include people like The Cato Institute’s John Samples, Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Tawakkol Karman, and former editor-in-chief of The Guardian Alan Rusbridger.
You may be slightly confused about all of this because after this, actually real, Oversight Board was formed, a group of Facebook’s most-prominent critics formed “The Real Oversight Board,” which was, in fact, not the real one. Incredible that Facebook’s deteriorating effect on truth even extends to their own Oversight Board. Good stuff.
The “Real Oversight Board” includes people like British writer Carole Cadwalladr, Dutch politician Marietje Schaake, and Rappler co-founder Maria Ressa. Their website briefly went offline after Facebook accused it of copyright infringement and then, in October, Facebook’s anti-phishing filters flagged the group’s new site.
Even though Facebook denied any direct involvement with the site getting flagged for phishing, Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone decided to post this very professional and cool tweet at the time to just make sure no one took Facebook’s side in the whole debacle.
Anyways, excited to see what the real Oversight Board, the independent governing body that Facebook likes and which shouldn’t be confused with the Real Oversight Board, which is is the fake independent oversight board that Facebook doesn’t like, decides about Trump’s Facebook account!
Here’s a good Lawfare blog post about how the process will work.
Our First Look At Twitter’s Blue Sky, Sorta
Twitter’s Blue Sky project is, in many ways, similar to Facebook’s Oversight Board. It’s a lofty and vague way to fix inherent problems in the platform’s core infrastructure without really admitting there are any problems to fix.
Blue Sky has been described as “an open and decentralized standard for social media.” Jack Dorsey, in a thread last month, compared it to Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, which is the decentralized communication system that underpins most email services. Like I said, Dorsey has been both lofty and vague about Blue Sky, but it seems like the idea is to create a fully open social media standard for the web. This seems good. Most of the people who have spent years working on this very idea — the Mastodon team being the most well-known of all of them — are not exactly psyched about it, however.
On Thursday, Blue Sky released an ecosystem review. It’s a dense and technical look at the protocols and applications that are already being used to create decentralized social media platforms. It’s worth flipping through it if you’re trying to figure out what the future of social media might look like — decentralized and federated.
Though, I should point out — according to a thorough ctrl+f analysis of the ecosystem review, the word “Mastodon” appears 73 times and the word “ActivityPub,” which is the protocol that Mastodon runs on, appears 62 times. So I’m still not exactly sure what Blue Sky is bringing to the table.
This was dropped in the Garbage Day discord by Patrick and was the first thing I saw when I woke up this morning. Thank you, Patrick. I hate it.
I keep waiting for the bubble to pop on cursed Furby content, but it really shows no signs of slowing down! Fun aside: When I was a kid, my sister and I locked a Furby in a closet for several months and forgot about it. When we took it out and changed the batteries it was, effectively, feral.
Here’s A Good Guy Fieri Post
Really not much more to say about this great image. Very powerful energy emitting from it. If you’re looking for more good Bernie chair content, check out the bernie-sits web app.
Guy Fieri Takes Over Tumblr
Some more Guy Fieri stuff happening on the web today. Tumblr has Fieri-fied its logo. According to this very cryptic post from Tumblr’s head of editorial, Amanda Brennan, the Fierified logo is to celebrate Guy’s birthday, which is apparently today.
Happy Aquarius season, everyone. May Guy Fieri guide you on your Aquarian journey of independence, platonic friendship, and scientific and technological advancement.
TikTok’s Got A Crypto Witch Now
I’m a big fan of Maren Altman’s TikTok account. She uses astrology to talk about a lot of stuff — she’s been particularly insightful about American politics over the last year — but she’s blowing up right now for her cryptocurrency videos. Insert “the stock market is just astrology for men” joke here, etc. I’ve seen a lot of big crypto accounts referring to her derisively as “the witch,” which, honestly, sounds cool as hell.
If you haven’t been following the latest drama in the crypto world, a few days after the attempted coup, Bitcoin and Ethereum took a nosedive. The market still hasn’t really recovered. Altman, though, warned her followers about the big dip before it happened because Saturn, which, for her, represented a price resistance, was going to cross Mercury, which, for her, represented Bitcoin’s price point. Yahoo! News has a really fun interview with her all about it.
Am I all in on astrology? No. Do I think we all use somewhat-abstract frameworks to help us understand the inherent chaos of a cold and unforgiving universe? Absolutely. And I can’t think of anything more cold and unforgiving than speculating on blockchain-based data transfers.
Trish Paytas Dropped An Emo EP
YouTuber Trish Paytas has released an EP under the name Sadboy2005. It’s pretty good! Also, the band name Sadboy2005 is legitimately sick actually. The EP has six songs and they’re all very adequate ESPN-filler-music-level pop punk songs.
The main single off the self-titled Sadboy2005 EP is “2005,” a reworking of Bowling For Soup’s reworking of SR-71’s song “1985”. The video, embedded above, is also genuinely great. The My Chemical Romance scene at the end is perfect. In terms of YouTuber mall-core, “2005” is no Your Broken Hero’s “A Letter To Ashley,” but it’s pretty good!
Culture sure is weird now.
Furries Have Entered The Coup Discourse
If you’ve seen the phrase “inflates you making you big and round” on Twitter or Tumblr lately, it comes from this now-deleted tweet:
The Twitter convo here is between two furries talking about the recent QAnon coup on the Capitol Building. Wow, what an incredible sentence that was.
I went over to @DiezelRaccoon’s account and they’re a conservative raccoon furry who has spent the last few weeks fighting with other furries about the recent insurrection. If you aren’t totally tapped into the politics of the furry community at the moment, the majority of the subculture has aligned themselves with Black Lives Matter and Antifa over the last four years, but there are still pockets of right-wing and far-right furries out there.
Anyways, *inflates you making you big and round*
A Really Good Facebook Group
I joined this group this morning! The full title is “I’m high and these are recipes” and it’s fantastic. I haven’t explored deep enough to understand why they changed the name. But it’s great. It’s private, but didn’t take very long to join.
Check out this great recipe for “Bagel”.
Just Chilling In Aquaterrarium YouTube
This YouTube channel was dropped in the Garbage Day discord, as well, this morning. It’s basically the exact opposite of bean Furby — relaxing, tranquil, pleasant to look at. Good Friday afternoon vibes happening here.
Russians Are Using TikTok To Master American Accents
Her accent is pretty good!
P.S. here’s just a big giant post of Bernie chair memes.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***
For someone who's deep into the weeds of internet culture, you don't seem to have your facts straight. r/WSB is hardly "radicalized post-Gamergate nihilists", they're self-deprecating self-proclaimed degenerate gamblers. You smearing them with the brush of GG is really bad form, and demonstrates that you can't tell one post-truth group of weirdoes from another. Vice's article is much more sympathetic about their role in a stock market that has already been subverted by bad actors at the top:
Not to mention, "a cascade of speculation bubbles on random nonsense" is also imprecise. While r/WSB is infamous for making crazy, often stupid bets, they at least have methods to their madnesses, and Bloomberg's in-depth reporting lays out the GameStop saga in detail- as you were criticized elsewhere, there was interest in the stock on the subreddit far earlier than the Citron report, as you misreported.
If our scholars of internet culture are getting so much wrong, then who is left to shine a light in a post-truth world?