Small Bits of Fast Moving Information Can Have Big Effects

On Monday morning, United Airlines’ stock briefly crashed from $12 to $3, due to a news piece from the Florida Sun-Sentinel that reported United was filing for bankruptcy. The thing was though, that the news was from 2002. Around 1am on Sunday morning the 2002 story was somehow listed in the “most popular” section of […]

On Monday morning, United Airlines’ stock briefly crashed from $12 to $3, due to a news piece from the Florida Sun-Sentinel that reported United was filing for bankruptcy. The thing was though, that the news was from 2002.

Around 1am on Sunday morning the 2002 story was somehow listed in the “most popular” section of the paper’s website. Google’s news bot then picked up the item as a new story – and finally, someone at Bloomberg summarized the article and uploaded it to the Bloomberg news service (In that persons defense, the story was dated September 7th – there was no trace of the past dateline.)

It’s interesting and scary that most of this happened automatically. An old piece of information that was lying dormant on the Sun-Sentinel site gets swept up by indexing bots, and suddenly causes a real panic, producing tangible results – in this case lots of money being lost.

[via Alley Insider]

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