The founder of WallStreetBets, Jaime Rogozinski, has filed a lawsuit against community-based social media giant Reddit. The lawsuit claims that Reddit wrongfully banned him from moderating the subreddit and violated his trademark rights. The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday and was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Rogozinski created r/WallStreetBets in 2012 to establish a community for everyday investors who may not know the ins and outs of stock trading. The subreddit’s popularity exploded in 2020, encouraging traders to buy various “meme” stocks like GameStop and AMC, and criticizing those with “paper hands” for selling too early.
As the subreddit’s membership grew, Rogozinski claims that Reddit “aggressively opposed” his application to file a trademark for the WallStreetBets name and instead filed for one itself. According to the lawsuit, Reddit’s dreams turned out to be Rogozinski’s nightmare as the company insisted on taking the community from him.
In 2020, Reddit terminated Rogozinski’s role as moderator, alleging that he was “attempting to monetize a community” after he published his WallStreetBets book and established an esports trading competition. Other r/WallStreetBets moderators later ousted him from the community altogether over claims that he broke the subreddit’s rules about self-promotion.
A Reddit spokesperson, who asked to remain anonymous, has dismissed the lawsuit as “completely frivolous,” with “no basis in reality.” The spokesperson went on to claim that Jaime was removed as a moderator for attempting to enrich himself and that the lawsuit is another attempt to do so.
According to Reuters, Rogozinski is suing for damages of at least $1 million and has requested that Reddit stop using the WallStreetBets name “unless and until” the company reinstates him as the “senior-most moderator” of the WallStreetBets community. Reddit has responded by saying that it plans on responding “directly in court” and will continue to “protect the best interests of the communities and moderators” on the platform.
The lawsuit is likely to raise questions about the rights of moderators and the ownership of online communities. As the popularity of social media platforms continues to grow, it remains to be seen how these issues will be resolved in the future.