The nihilistic rise of ‘loss porn’

It’s been a terrible few weeks for that guy you know. Bitcoin dropped to a ten-month low (apparently thanks to something called ‘stablecoins’), while $1 trillion has been wiped off the largest tech companies on the stock markets. ‘Retail investors’ – non-professionals with little more than an internet connection – are struggling. You might expect many of them to put their heads in their hands and log off. But that would be to misunderstand the nihilism of online culture. Losing is the same as winning, only better. The thing to do is to post evidence of your catastrophic losses. It’s called ‘loss porn’ and if you look at the ‘WallStreetBets’ page on

Reddit, Aimee Challenor and a disturbing insight into the trans debate

Aimee Knight, previously known as Aimee Challenor, has been sacked by Reddit. But while Challenor has now gone, her reappearance in the headlines — and the way in which Reddit mishandled this story — is a revealing and disturbing insight into the transgender debate. It all began with an article I wrote for these pages on Green party gender madness in which I briefly mentioned Challenor’s suspension from the party in 2018. It was a scandal that Challenor did not wish to see dragged up. When a moderator of the popular UK politics community on Reddit shared that article, mentioning Challenor by name, the post was removed and the moderator banned.

Is Reddit censoring The Spectator?

What’s going on over at Reddit? The popular chatroom, which bills itself as ‘the front page of the internet’, has been accused of blocking Spectator articles. Earlier this week, the most popular UK politics page was suspended from public view and users who posted a link to a Spectator article were blocked. The article in question mentions one Aimee Challenor, a former ‘rising star’ of the Green party and transgender activist, who left the party in disgrace after she appointed her father — a violent paedophile — as her election agent. According to the moderators on the Reddit group r/UKPolitics, Aimee has since been hired by the tech firm, which is now zealously blocking content about

Internet users are the new surrealists, and they keep changing the world

As 2021 continues to progress at a dizzying rate, one of the recurring social phenomenon we’re seeing is the surreal eruption of online activism in the real world. From the recent explosion of GameStop share prices – hiked up by amateur investors co-ordinating online – to the large-scale protests and riots in Washington following the 2020 Presidential election, the communities in cyberspace continue to spill out into the real world. The question is: why are these kinds of actions becoming an increasingly unsettling occurrence in the usual running of society? In the lexicon of web-design, the term UX, user experience, is often used to describe how an individual may interact

The Reddit rampage is a sign of market turmoil ahead

The Reddit story — in which a ragtag army of small investors have executed a spectacular short squeeze against hedge-fund goliaths — can be interpreted two ways. Some say it’s another populist citadel–storming in the spirit of the moment, but this time an admirable one because its target is ‘Wall Street’, which everyone hates: the so-called ‘stick it to the man’ version. Others see a fever of price-chasing, part-driven by lockdown despair, akin to crypto-mania and the surge in online gambling; in this version, it has nothing to do with serious investment but is a sure signal of more market turmoil ahead. To recap: several million retail investors connected via

Why I joined the online army taking on the hedge funds

I spent most of last week drenched in sweat, launching a vicious assault on Wall Street hedge funds which cost them $20 billion. Along with thousands of other ‘degenerates’, I bought shares in GameStop, a struggling videogame shop whose value has recently soared by 2,000 per cent. Behind the surge is an online community called WallStreetBets, where bored young men gamble on barely researched stock tips and crack tasteless jokes. The community, which lives on the social media website Reddit, has a history of hilariously aggressive stock-market bets. In 2019, for example, a 19-year-old member made $700,000 and then lost it all again within two weeks. Last week WallStreetBets became

The capitalist nihilism of WallStreetBets

When Croatian movie director Dario Jurican ran in the country’s presidential election in 2019, his campaign slogan, ‘corruption for everybody’, promised that normal people would also be able to profit from cronyism. The people reacted with enthusiasm although they knew it was a joke. A similar dynamic is present on the WallStreetBets subreddit, which subverts the financial system by over-identifying with it or, rather, by universalizing it and thereby revealing its in-built absurdity. The story is well-known already, but let’s briefly recap. Wallstreetbets is an online group in which millions of participants discuss stock and options trading. It is notable for its profane nature and promotion of aggressive trading strategies.

Who are the Reddit traders?

The anarchic traders of Reddit stunned stock-markets this week, boosting the share price of struggling retailer GameStop by some 400 per cent. It’s the latest stunt from WallStreetBets – an infamous Reddit page for novice millennial traders (which was featured in The Spectator last February). But who are the Redditors behind the great Wall Street coup? Here’s what we know: RoaringKitty The initial interest in GameStop has been credited to YouTuber and Redditor ‘RoaringKitty’ who has been plugging the stock as a value buy since September 2019, just after its shares slumped to an all-time low of $3.32. Having purportedly made 50 per cent on his initial investment of $50,000, RoaringKitty made

Memes vs Wall Street: how Reddit took on US hedge funds

What did you do this week? I spent it drenched in sweat, launching a vicious assault on Wall Street hedge funds which cost them $5 billion (£3.7 billion). And I didn’t even have to put my trousers on. Along with thousands of other degenerates, I bought shares in GameStop, a struggling US video game store whose value has soared by 2,000 per cent in the last four weeks. Behind the surge is a wild Reddit community called WallStreetBets, where bored young men gamble on barely researched stock tips and crack tasteless jokes. The community, whose tagline is ‘like 4chan found a Bloomberg terminal’, has a long and hilarious history of

Beware online investment apps and ‘experts’

Remember day trading, the fad for retail investors trying to emulate the hotshots of Wall Street from their spare bedrooms, and losing much of their money in the process? It is back with a vengeance, this time driven by a range of ‘disruptor’ apps which seek to lure risk-hungry traders by eliminating the cost of buying and selling assets. This time, the bets are even bigger. Controversially, some apps offer traders the chance to ‘leverage’ their bets: that is to borrow money to increase their gains. Or losses. The story of canny investors looking to outsmart the system — and the charismatic ‘experts’ that lead them — is as old