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Reproduced from CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals (Note: percentages are rounded and may add to more than 100)

Trading platform Robinhood is growing — up to 10 million users — and is not just made up of wet-behind-the-ears gamblers and sports bettors, a new survey from CivicScience shows.

  • More than half of Robinhood users describe themselves as either long-term or 401(k) investors.

What it means: Retail traders broadly have been looked at with skepticism and scorn by much of the investment community, and Robinhood users, especially, are seen as capricious and naively bidding up trend stocks. However, the data show most of the platform's users aren't active traders.

Where it stands: The company recently raised $200 million for an $11.2 billion valuation based on its explosive growth and it may have further to go.

  • CivicScience found that just 8% of Americans say they use or intend to use Robinhood while 72% say they have never heard of it. Another 20% say they are not interested.

Yes, but: The company's reputation has been damaged by a series of crashes and errors that prevented users from making trades on its app on some of the most important days of the year.

Background: Robinhood grew to prominence because it was one of the first platforms that allowed users to trade stocks with no fees and provided fractional shares, meaning users could purchase stock in pricey tech companies like Amazon, Apple or Tesla even if they didn't have enough money to buy a full share.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Dec 17, 2020 - Economy & Business

Robinhood accused of securities law violations

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Robinhood is an unreliable trading platform that takes advantage of the poor, uses sophisticated gamification techniques to get them to spend money, and lies to them about their trades being free, according to a pair of lawsuits filed yesterday and today by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the state of Massachusetts.

Why it matters: Robinhood is the fastest-growing brokerage the world has ever seen, growing to an $11 billion valuation on the back of its ostensibly free trades and the gamification tools it uses to encourage its customers to do more of them.

Dec 17, 2020 - Technology

Facebook goes to war with Apple over ad privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook further escalated its long-brewing fight with Apple this week, launching a second round of full-page newspaper ads Thursday charging that new Apple privacy measures will hurt small businesses. At the same time, Facebook is backing developers in a lawsuit against Apple's app store policies.

The big picture: Apple wants to give users the chance to opt out of being tracked by Facebook and other companies that sell ads. Facebook says the move will "change the internet as we know it — for the worse."

Reports: CIA finds "Havana Syndrome" unlikely caused by foreign campaign

CIA Director William Burns testifies during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill last April. Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

A preliminary CIA report rules out a foreign global campaign as the cause of American and Canadian diplomats affected by a mysterious illness known as "Havana syndrome," per multiple reports.

Why it matters: Some lawmakers had suggested the sometimes debilitating illness was due to directed energy attacks. But CIA officials told the New York Times that most of the 1,000 cases reported to the government could be "explained by environmental causes, undiagnosed medical conditions or stress." This finding has angered some victims, per the NYT.