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Robinhood is back to a one-star rating, but Google isn't coming to save it

Google Play Store
Google Play Store (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Update, Feb 3 (9:00 pm ET): Google says it won't step in this time to save the app rating

What you need to know

  • Robinhood blocked trading to a number of stocks after trading surged thanks to a group of Redditors.
  • GameStop, Nokia, AMC, and other companies were affected by the surge.
  • Robinhood's rating on the Google Play Store tumbled after a swarm of negative reviews plagued the app.

Anyone following the drama surrounding Robinhood knows just how much of a mess it's become. For those not aware, the mobile investment app has been under fire after it halted trading to a number of companies after they saw their shares surge. Many people weren't happy with the decision, calling it market manipulation, and even prompting a lawsuit against Robinhood. Another result of the drama is the app saw its rating drop on Google Play Store following a swarm of negative reviews.

According to 9to5Google, the Robinhood app was sitting pretty at four stars, which then tumbled all the way down to one star. Apparently, Google caught wind of what was happening and ended up removing over 100,000 negative reviews, which brought the app back to its pre-WallStreetBets rating.

Source: 9to5Google (Image credit: Source: 9to5Google)

The Reddit group /r/WallStreetBets is largely responsible for the surge in trading for several companies, which included Nokia, AMC, Blackberry, and more. For instance, GameStop, which has been struggling to survive the impact of the pandemic, went from $19 at the beginning of the year to just less than $100 on January 26th, and since then rose to a whopping $467 at the height of the trading spree today. The move was to drive a loop that would see the stocks grow by squeezing out large investors who were short-selling these stocks, which forced them to buy and drove the stock higher.

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The move to halt trading was seen as market manipulation and a way to protect Wall Street hedge funds. Amid the backlash, Robinhood issued a statement (opens in new tab) about their decision:

Amid this week's extraordinary circumstances in the market, we made a tough decision today to temporarily limit buying for certain securities. As a brokerage firm, we have many financial requirements, including SEC net capital obligations and clearinghouse deposits. Some of these requirements fluctuate based on volatility in the markets and can be substantial in the current environment. These requirements exist to protect investors and the markets and we take our responsibilities to comply with them seriously, including through the measures we have taken today.

Update, Feb 3 (9:00 pm ET) ― Robinhood is back down to one star, with no change in sight

Not long after Google came in and saved Robinhood's Play Store rating by purging nearly 100,000 negative reviews, the app has fallen back to a 1.1 rating. This time, a spokesperson told The Verge that the reviews do not break any of Google's rules:

Google Play's app review systems are designed to provide a genuine and trustworthy view of an app's user experience, and we take action on any inauthentic or coordinated activity aimed at artificially raising or lowering an app's overall score. To be clear, this is not done to shield an app from negative reviews, but to help protect app developers from things like coordinated review bombing and to safeguard our systems from being artificially manipulated.

Many of the 300,000+ reviews seem to focus on the quality of the app, commenting on frequent bugs, crashing, or confusing UI.

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

18 Comments
  • Amazing how big tech/Corp stays together. It's ok when Wall Street does it to us common folk, but as soon as the tables are turned, it's no good. Way to go Google 🤦🏼‍♂️
  • Its a bunch of crap.
  • Is this shocking at all to anybody?
  • Agree as well.... OT - Could have put anyone elses tweet besides psycho AOC
  • Robinhood CEO needs to go to jail. And rating aside, you'd have to be an idiot to continue using their services.
  • couldn't agree more.
  • They stopped people from being able to trade a stock they legally bought. Nothing that these investors did was illegal.
  • To the elites and hedge funds they did. They figured out the game and made it work for them instead of WS.
  • To be clear, they stopped people from being able to buy the stock. They did not prevent people from selling stock if it was owned. Not defending their action, just clarifying.
  • If people can't buy it, people can't sell it either. The two things are inexorably linked.
  • Agree...oh if they had of banned selling they would have been totally screwed..Could you imagine buying 100 shares at $20 and then price goes to $400 and you couldn't sell...Someone would owe me $40000
  • And they also allegedly deleted a few thousand one star reviews in the Google play store as well.
  • Just more ways to censor. Every person that uses the app has 100% right to change their rating if they feel as such.
  • Once again, big tech and the elite step in to show that they control things and not the common man. I have my thoughts on the screeching harpy AOC, but for once, I agree with her.
  • Haha, yeah, should have put Ted Cruz quote over her's
  • I can see where a sudden influx of reviews all bad can look suspicious, but Robinhood not only stopped people from trading but sold their shares with neither permission nor warning. It isn't theft or embezzlement because it is a right granted to the company in the fine print, but seriously? Not allowing a downgrade because the user just found out they don't really control the shares they supposedly own? Not allowing a downgrade because the app just cost its user hundreds or thousands of dollars? An app that charged the user money without their permission would be dropped. How is what Robinhood did that much different?
  • For very technical, but very real financial reasons, Robin hood acted responsibly. Robinhood recently settled with the SEC for $65 million after being accused of misleading customers and failing to satisfy duty of best execution, and its GME trading freeze may have been in reaction to the SEC’s statement.
  • You don't even need to know anything about stocks at all to see that what Robinhood did directly caused the Gamestop stock to crash and it never recovered to that level.