Nikola founder says stock manipulators took Facebook group for shareholders 'off the deep end'

Trevor Milton has accused social media critics of 'obviously coordinated' attacks against the company

Nikola Motors CEO Trevor Milton is encouraging company shareholders to leave a Facebook group, alleging the forum has become a platform for stock manipulation.

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"If you are in the Nikola Shareholders NKLA Facebook page, I'd recommend you leave the group," Milton tweeted Saturday. "It's become stock manipulator bashing page. It's really sad. I was hoping to help it become an educational page for everyone until it went off the deep end."

The company is recommending shareholders follow its Twitter page for "direct data without the misguided information."

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According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, market manipulation can involve spreading false or misleading information about a company, engaging in a series of transactions to make a security appear more actively traded, and rigging quotes, prices, or trades to make it look like there is more or less demand for a security than there actually is.

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Milton lashed out in a Twitter thread at social media critics of his electric vehicle startup on Thursday, alleging that "hired hands" have "obviously coordinated" their attacks against the company.

"We've been tracking the negative tweets and most are not Nikola Shareholders but those hired hands saying they are selling all their shares just to stoke fear, telling others to do the same, which turn out to be anti-nikola or paid attack accounts," he said. "Obviously coordinated."

He noted that competitor Tesla was a victim of "vicious" social media attacks in the past, and now "those vicious attacks are directed towards us from many Tesla fans." He argued that more people should "stand up against hate and fear" and "call each other out."

"If you don't like us, don't follow us," Milton added in another tweet. "No need to spend time attacking our investors or stoking fear. Stock goes up & down but in life you'll be measured by the good you do,not the hate or fear you stoke. I wish you well and we will deliver, not matter what you do to our stock."

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The Nikola shareholder Facebook group was started back on March 4 and has nearly 10,000 members. Nikola stock began trading on June 4 under the symbol NKLA.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
NKLANIKOLA37.47+0.97+2.67%

Nikola stock is currently trading at $58.20 per share in after-hours trading after closing at $57.19 per share at the end of Friday's trading session, plummeting more than 13 percent.

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