Feeds

Google News farce triggers Wall Street sell-off

Six-year-old story pummels United Airlines

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Updated United Airlines' stock price plummeted more than 75 per cent yesterday, after a six-year-old bankruptcy story somehow surfaced on Google News.

As reported by The Washington Post, this labyrinthine tale began on Saturday, when Google News indexed a United bankruptcy piece published by the Chicago Tribune way back in 2002. United filed for chapter 11 that December, but emerged from bankruptcy four years later.

Google insists the South Florida Sun-Sentinel - a Trib sister paper - republished the story at about 10:30pm Pacific Saturday evening. But the papers' parent company says Google bots must have pulled the piece from the Sun-Sentinel's online archive.

In any event, the story lacked a date stamp. So Google stamped it with the current date: September 6, 2008.

Two days later, an unsuspecting reporter with a Florida investment research firm/news outfit typed "bankruptcy 2008" into Google News, and the six-year-old story appeared in the search results - looking brand new. The research firm, Income Securities Advisors, happens to be one of Bloomberg's so-called third-party content providers, and the story was soon spewed onto Wall Street monitors via a Bloomberg subscription news service - as nothing more than a headline.

The headline read "United Airlines files for Ch. 11 to cut costs."

When the Nasdaq Stock Market opened Monday morning, the stock price of United's parent company, UAL, sat at $12.30. But when the Bloomberg headline appeared at about 11am Eastern, the price dipped to $3 within the hour.

UAL trading was eventually halted, and after the headline was explained, the stock rebounded to $10.92 by closing time. But this tale paints a telling picture of Wall Street - and the news game. We can't decide which is more ridiculous. ®

Update

The Tribune Company has now said that traffic to the Sun-Sentinel's archive pushed the old bankruptcy article onto the "most viewed" section of the paper's web site.

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.