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Blame on a google error to cause HUGE stock market melt down today
MrSandMan is Offline
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Default Blame on a google error to cause HUGE stock market melt down today - 09-09-2008, 07:33 PM

This isn't good. An old September 2002 "United Airline files Bankruptcy" article was bumped up in google (and I think google news syndicated) leading stock investors to believe that UAL was filing bankruptcy in September of 2008.

Shares fell as much as 76 percent before trading was stopped for about 90 minutes, UAL trades between 10:55 a.m. and 11:08 a.m

The owner of the Sun-Sentinel (and also the parent of The Times), initially pointed a finger at Google Inc., saying it appeared that the search engine highlighted the story out of the Sun-Sentinel's archives over the weekend, which generated traffic and caused the newspaper's computer to move the story to a page of most-viewed articles.

But Google said the only reason its search engine "crawler" bothered with the story was that it was listed on the Sun-Sentinel page of most-viewed stories -- and with the weekend date on it, instead of the 2002 date.

To the crawler, "it was a new item that said, 'Hey, look here,' " Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker said.

A Tribune spokesman late Monday said the company was "still looking into" the matter.

As for how the story got to Wall Street, human error compounded computer error.

Richard Lehmann, who publishes the Income Securities Advisors newsletter, said his firm focuses in part on bonds of troubled companies. One of his reporters routinely searches the Web for news under "bankruptcy 2008," he said. That search on Monday morning found the UAL story on a Sun-Sentinel news page with a Sept. 6, 2008, date.

The reporter, Lehmann said, thought it was fresh because of the date and because the Google search found the story on a current Sun-Sentinel page, which included an item on Hurricane Ike.

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