Unintentional fake news.

Last week, we straddled our soap box and decried the potential of fake news to be used by bad actors to manipulate stock prices. This week, our concern was reinforced when Dow Jones accidentally published a fake story that Google was buying Apple for the low price of $9 billion. Dow Jones quickly fixed the error, but not before the bots kicked in to goose Apple’s stock higher by a few bucks. Of course, given where Apple trades, if this fake rumor were true, Apple’s stock should have plummeted, but that’s beside point. The key takeaway is that for the brief time before Dow Jones retracted the story, the algorithms moved the stock. Imagine, then, what could happen when realistic-sounding rumors are disseminated more broadly and strategically?