If a false story is reported and Google picks it up, does that make it true? Could be. Case in point yesterday the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reprinted a six year old story about United Airlines going bankrupt. The story, which had a dateline from this past week-end, quickly hit the top of the paper’s most viewed list and was subsequently picked up by Google’s search engine “crawler,” which highlighted it. And here’s where it all goes south. A financial newsletter grabbed the news off Google and included one line about it in a bried, which showed up on Bloomberg news. Shortly thereafter stocks plunged from $12 to $3. Oh the power of Google, and also correct time stamps!
Gawker points out Bloomberg’s record for correct reporting has taken a hit or two of late: last month the financial oracle incorrectly reported Steve Job’s death, and just last week it picked up on a false rumor that Sarah Palin had been arrested on drunk driving charges 22 years ago (it was actually her husband).