Robinhood to Tone Down Features that ‘Gamify’ Investing

Robinhood is set to remove some of the features that have led to the stock trading platform being accused of trying to “gamify” trading and investing.

The features have been a part of the Robinhood app since 2016, however with the company now on the path to going public, they have now announced they will remove the features. The move is thought to be a bid to attract a more serious calibre of investor.

Cutting the Confetti

The most controversial feature of the Robinhood App has been the animated confetti, which until now has appeared when traders reach milestones and firsts. These include account validation, first traders and successful friend referrals.

The confetti feature has regularly been accused of “gamifying” investing, distracting users from the fact that their money is at stake. Robinhood has in the past reacted to criticism by doubling down on support for its confetti feature. Via a company spokesperson, Robinhood once claimed that the feature helps “investing fit easily into people’s lives” and has described it as being “friendly”. However now it seems, the company has changed its tune, with the plans to go public the likely reason.

Confetti to be Replaced with More Subdued Animation

Robinhood might be cutting the confetti, but they’re not getting rid of the animation all together. According to a statement released on the Robinhood website on March 31, the confetti is to be replaced with a “new, dynamic visual experience” that will appear when customers reach firsts and milestones when trading with the app. While it hasn’t yet been made clear exactly what the new animations will entail, its thought that they will be more subdued than the celebratory confetti

Confetti Feature “Getting Misconstrued”

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Madhu Muthukumar, senior director of product management at Robinhood, acknowledged the need to replace the confetti, saying the feature was “getting really misconstrued” and that it was distracting from the goal of the app. According to Mr. Muthukumar, the aim of Robinhood is to provide trading access to “everyday folks” who have been previously shut out of the market. The animation features are to “positively reinforce” people for taking “steps in their financial life”.

Robinhood Still Recovering from Meme Stock Involvement

The replacement of the controversial confetti feature isn’t the only change that Robinhood is making ahead of its plans to go public. The trading app has made several other changes, following its involvement in the frenzy of so-called “meme stocks”, most notably GameStop.

The company started restricting trades on stocks including GameStop and AMC, which were largely driven by the Reddit thread WallStreetBets. The move came following criticism from the media and wider financial world, but was then met with a backlash from users who felt the restriction went against Robinhood’s model of opening up trading to “everyday folks”.

Plans to Go Public

Robinhood has filed for an IPO, with the removal of these controversial features being made in a bid to attract more serious investors when it is listed.

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