Rafael Henrique | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty Images
“Wallstreetbets” Reddit chat room, where retail investors marshal against short sellers, briefly went private on Wednesday evening, limiting access to outsiders.
The community gathered an army of rookie day traders who go after heavily shorted stocks, pushing share prices higher and squeezing out short-selling hedge funds. The forum’s members topped three million as of Wednesday.
The forum became public again as of 7:45 p.m. ET. However, the moderators locked the popular GameStop thread, preventing users from posting new comments.
“We have grown to the kind of size we only dreamed of in the time it takes to get a bad nights sleep,” WSB’s moderators said in a post. “We’ve got so many comments and submissions that we can’t possibly even read them all, let alone act on them as moderators. We wrote software to do most of the moderation for us but that software isn’t allowed to read the Reddit new feed fast enough and submit responses, and the admins haven’t given us special access despite asking for it.”
GameStop, a red-hot target in “wallstreetbets,” saw its shares soaring more than 400% this week alone. The brick-and-mortar video game retailer has skyrocketed a whopping 1,700% as retail traders continued to encourage each other to pile on.
AMC Entertainment, another hot topic in the chat room, surged more than 300% Wednesday alone, experiencing its highest volume ever.
GameStop dropped more than 20% in extended trading Wednesday, while AMC fell more than 38%.
A Reddit spokesperson said “wallstreetbets” moderators set the community to private briefly.
“Reddit’s site-wide policies prohibit posting illegal content or soliciting or facilitating illegal transaction,” the spokesperson said. “We will review and cooperate with valid law enforcement investigations or actions as needed.”
Many top posts in the chat room feature screenshots of investors’ brokerage accounts, showing massive returns from trading in GameStop and other names. Some of these enthusiastic investors call out short sellers in sometimes profane language and distasteful internet memes.
Some on Wall Street grew concerned that the buying frenzy from the Reddit crowd could potentially destabilize the market and hurt overall confidence. Meanwhile, mounting losses from hedge funds could spill over to other areas of the market.
Social platform Discord banned the “wallstreetbets” chat room on Wednesday.
“The WallStreetBets server has been on our Trust & Safety team’s radar for some time due to occasional content that violates our Community Guidelines, including hate speech, glorifying violence, and spreading misinformation,” a Discord spokesperson said in a statement.
“Over the past few months, we have issued multiple warnings to the server admin. Today, we decided to remove the server and its owner from Discord for continuing to allow hateful and discriminatory content after repeated warnings,” the spokesperson added.
Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.