By Joanna N., Business Development Associate at Zero One Group
January was a wild month in the news sphere, with everything from pandemic to politics making wacky headlines at the start of the year (did any of you have Viking Man storming the Capitol on your 2021 bingo card? No? Me neither).
On that note, here are three topics we think deserve your attention and discussion at your next (virtual) water cooler chat.
Redditors take on Wall Street
Sending $GME to the moon.
A recent trading frenzy has sent the share price of GameStop ($GME) to astronomical levels, reaching a peak of $483 per share. $GME’s 52-week low stands at $2.57 per share.
Redditors of r/WallStreetBets saw that large investors had bet billions that GameStop’s stock would fall. These Redditors then decided to penalise Wall Street by banding together to drive the price up.
As the actions of these retail investors went viral, $GME rapidly rose in price, forcing the large investors to spend billions of dollars to cover their losses. One hedge fund sustained a 53% loss in assets within the last month.
- Robinhood banned the trade of so-called “meme stocks”, citing market volatility and risk — the ensuing backlash could negatively impact their planned IPO
- Calls to investigate all sides have been made, especially in regards to allegations of market manipulation
- The future of Reddit traders, Wall Street, and intermediary platforms remain uncertain
What is going on with WhatsApp?
Privacy concerns — as usual.
The core issue lies with users’ concerns that the updated policy will mandate the sharing of sensitive profile information with Facebook, WhatsApp’s parent company.
Users are required to “agree” to share data with Facebook by February 8 — or lose access to their accounts.
Turns out the update has nothing to do with consumer chats or profile data. It has to do with messaging business profiles on the platform.
- Massive fallout, partly thanks to Facebook’s poor track record on privacy and opaque dealings with terms of service agreements
- Users fleeing to alternative platforms, namely Telegram and Signal
- How will Facebook and WhatsApp build trust back and navigate transparency in the aftermath?
The Disappearance of Jack Ma
And the mysterious circumstances surrounding his comeback.
Jack Ma had resurfaced in mid-January after rumours of him going missing first broke at the start of the year.
After nearly three months in which his whereabouts were unknown, Ma appeared in a 48-second clip — of which many likened to a “hostage video”.
Many have speculated that he decided to lay low after he had publicly criticised the Communist Party and spoke out against regulators, who he perceived to be “stifling innovation”.
Ma’s speech went viral on social media for being the antithesis of the regime’s rhetoric.
- The IPO of Ant Group, an online finance company spun out of Alibaba, was cancelled two weeks after Ma’s speech was made
- Ma’s current whereabouts, after his brief video appearance, remain unknown
- This event sets up a precedent for individuals and businesses who are looking to expand, or are already present in, China
That wraps it up for January’s news recap! Keep the discussion going and tune in next month to see our summary of February’s buzzing topics.