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Because of a simple emoji, he is accused of stock fraud

© Lemon squeezer/Domingo Alvarez E on Unsplash

Emojis are increasingly present in the way we communicate and exchange online. They are even considered essential at work. But you have to be careful, because some can have a double meaning. So you need to be careful about which ones you use. Thus, the thumbs up 👍 can be perceived as “passive-aggressive”. Particularly by younger users. The eggplant emoji, for its part, does not only represent the vegetable which has its place in ratatouille.

So entrepreneur Ryan Cohen should have thought twice before using the 🌝 emoji. Indeed, he is currently accused of stock fraud and it starts from this simple emoji in a publication on 62~

🌝, the double-edged stock market emoji?

In August 2022, CNBC published an article on the financial and stock market difficulties experienced by the Bed, Bath & Beyond. On X (ex-Twitter), entrepreneur Ryan Cohen seems surprisingly confident. A major investor in the brand and chairman of the GameStop board of directors, the businessman is not a “nobody”and its influence on the stock market is not insignificant. And that's the problem. On Elon Musk's social network, Ryan Cohen makes a joke, as he usually does, and concludes his publication with the “controversial” emoji 🌝.

If you are not used to the stock market side of X (formerly Twitter), this may seem very harmless to you. But connoisseurs know that this emoji is generally a symbol of prosperity and its use suggests that the value of the action will soar… To reach the Moon.

This simple tweet with the emoji 🌝 thus triggered a surge in the stock market. Until Ryan Cohen resold his shares in the company (12%) for around 55 million euros and, at the same time, marked the collapse of Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Since this incident, the shareholders of Bed, Bath & Beyond accuses Ryan Cohen of stock fraud. Indeed, they pull no punches and claim that the entrepreneur had fun misleading investors to drive up the stock and recover a substantial jackpot.

Assuming that Ryan Cohen actually manipulated the action of Bed,Bad & Beyond, is the emoji argument admissible in court?? Apparently, yes.

Already this summer, a Canadian farmer had to pay 56,000 euros because of a simple emoji. He was accused of failing to deliver to a customer. When the latter sent him a contract, he responded with the emoji 👍 (him again!). The buyer then considered this as tacit validation. By 2023, emojis would be at the heart of more than 200 legal cases in the United States, according to Eric Goldman, professor of law at Santa Clara University.

Ryan Cohen's lawyers rushed to write a dismissal of the complaint, finding the accusation preposterous. But the Washington D.C. court is inflexible, affirming that emojis “can also give rise to prosecution”. All we have to do is wait for the end of this unusual story which could well be expensive.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116