Traders from WallStreetBets trigger a giant short squeeze on GameStop stock : Planet Money Video game stores. Hedge Funds. Reddit forums. How this mad lib resulted in the biggest short squeeze in years. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

Can't Stop GameStop

Can't Stop GameStop

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Paul Weaver/SOPA via Getty Images SOPA Images/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett hide caption

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SOPA Images/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

Paul Weaver/SOPA via Getty Images

SOPA Images/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

In 2019, GameStop seemed to be just another failing brick-and-mortar business. The video game retail industry was shifting away from physical copies, and larger companies like Amazon and Walmart were capturing more and more console sales. Hedge funds, smelling blood in the water, decided to profit off GameStop's decline, shorting its stock in massive numbers.

But a couple of internet dwellers at Wall Street Bets, in a strange corner of the giant forum, reddit, thought the hedge funds were making a mistake. They thought the stock was being overshorted, and if that stock were to start going up, those short sellers could be in for a bad time.

Today on the show: how a standoff between big market movers and an irreverent community of anonymous traders erupted into an epic showdown that is changing the way people think about power on Wall Street.

Music: "The Tendieman," "Cybernetical," "The Grunk," and "C310037."

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