Robinhood is cutting out the confetti from its stock trading app, following accusations that the animation helped to “gamify” investing. Instead, the company is adding new animations that will celebrate trading milestones for users in a more somber manner.
The celebratory digital confetti showers have been a controversial part of Robinhood’s app since 2016. In the past, Robinhood has argued that the friendly features “help investing fit easily into people’s lives.” But others — including the Massachusetts Securities Division — have argued that the confetti (along with other features, like free stock promotions) help to “gamify” stock trading for amateur investors who may not understand what they’re getting into.
“The confetti is getting really misconstrued, and I think it’s actually doing the opposite of what we want,” Madhu Muthukumar, senior director of product management at Robinhood, commented to The Wall Street Journal. It “seems to have distracted from the goal of the app, which is to make regular people, everyday folks who have been kept out of the market, feel like they can participate and feel like they are being positively reinforced for taking steps in their financial life.”
Of course, Robinhood is still recovering from its involvement in the recent wave of “meme stocks,” which saw the company come under fire from users who were frustrated when it started restricting trades of popular stocks like GameStop and AMC when Reddit users from the r/WallStreetBets subreddit were frantically trading them.
But Robinhood is planning to go public, with the company already confidentially filing for a forthcoming IPO. Cleaning out any controversial aspects of the app — even ones as seemingly innocuous as confetti celebrations — is a logical move to appease future investors.