12 September 2008

‘Shares Plunge’ Story Picked Up By Google

The archived news article that caused a run on shares in United Airlines (UAL) was picked up by Google News, claims a new press report.

According to Associated Press, the story dating back to 2002 came under the radar of Google News software after it appeared in the Most Viewed section of the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s business section.

From Google News the article regarding the airline’s appeal for bankruptcy protection was mistakenly taken as current and a summary posted to Bloomberg, where it was viewed by thousands in the financial sector.

Within minutes the share price fell by almost 75% before the Nasdaq stock exchange put a stop to trading in UAL shares, reports the BBC.

Gabriel Stricker, spokesman for Google, said its automated crawlers check web pages for clues to the original publishing date and only saw a current one on the story.

Further details on the story as it unfolded can be found on Editor & Publisher and the International Herald Tribune.

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