- Zero Hedge, a financial blog that rose to popularity in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, was permanently suspended from Twitter for what the platform deemed as spreading misinformation over the Wuhan coronavirus.
- The site has been described as “far-right” and “pro-Trump” after it was first established as a strong voice offering counter-culture takes in finance and politics.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The financial blog Zero Hedge was permanently suspended from Twitter on Friday after it published an article identifying a Chinese scientist it claimed created the deadly Wuhan coronavirus.
A report from Buzzfeed News first captured on the controversy, which labeled Zero Hedge a “far-right” and “pro-Trump” news site, reflecting the long way the site has come since it began posting insider financial knowledge and humor in around the 2008 financial collapse.
Since its rise to popularity among Wall Street insiders, Zero Hedge has since become best known for its sensationalist headlines and gruff take on the world’s news.
Here’s the history of the controversial publication.
The blog rose to prominence after the 2008 financial crisis.
The small site began as a platform for an anonymous blogger that posted a mix of financial musings, doomsday predictions for major players, and high-level market intelligence and data.
New York Magazine later reported that a major moment came in Spring 2008, when the site posted a claim that Goldman Sachs was using computers to siphon hundreds of millions of dollars in illegitimate trading profits from the New York Stock Exchange, invisibly undercutting the market and sidestepping the regulatory reach of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The post didn’t initially raise eyebrows in the mainstream, but it earned its cred when a former programmer for the investment bank was arrested for allegedly stealing codes that a federal prosecutor said could be used to “manipulate markets in unfair ways.”
The blog post found its way across the city’s financial and media gossip chains, and the New York Times later published a front-page article on so-called high-frequency trading and its potential abuses that triggered a letter from Sen. Chuck Schumer, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, to the SEC that same day. Twelve days later, the SEC signaled that it was considering a ban on the very computerized trading that Zero Hedge had attacked.
Despite the massive waves caused by the blog’s apparent insider information, the identities behind the site remained a mystery.
Zero Hedge’s approach could be easily summed up by the tagline displayed at the top of the site, which claims “On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”
This is a line from the 1999 movie Fight Club, which also earned a nod in the site’s leading byline, “Tyler Durden,” the name of Brad Pitt’s anarchist character in the film, who is seen blowing up the headquarters of major credit-card companies.
Reports in 2009 pointed to Daniel Ivandjiiski, a Bulgarian-born former analyst and hedge fund employee who was banned from Wall Street for insider trading in 2008.
A 2016 Bloomberg article revealed that “Durden” was actually three people who were running the infamous blog.
Then-32-year-old Colin Lokey told the outlet that he was behind the site, along with Ivandjiiski and Tim Backshall, a well-known derivatives strategist.