The fake AP tweet, the day after

Yes, most of us might be over it, but the fake tweet (AP supposedly reporting a bombing at the White House that injured President Obama) that sent the stock markets swooning Tuesday needs some follow-up:

• As the Merc’s Steve Johnson reported, the stock markets recovered rather quickly because the fake tweet was quickly disavowed by the Associated Press, and the Dow ended the day up 152 points. But someone could have gamed the market and made off with a bunch of money, according to an analysis from Quartz, which reported that it took about seven minutes for the stock markets and its automated algorithmic bots to recover from the Dow dropping more than 100 points. “Mom-and-pop traders could hardly move in time to profit off the dip, but seven minutes is an eternity in the world of high-frequency trading, where equities are exchanged in fractions of a second,” the Quartz piece said.

• There’s a whole lot of “two-factor authentication” talk going on. That is, people want Twitter to implement it to avoid repeats of Tuesday’s episode — which were repeats of previous episodes of fake news disseminated in the Twitterverse. We asked Twitter for comment on this very thing yesterday, but they haven’t gotten back to us. (They were probably busy, you think?) But as Ars Technica reported in February — after Twitter disclosed 250,000 user accounts had been compromised — and as Wired reported last night, the San Francisco company is supposedly working on it. Two-factor authentication involves entering a password on a website, plus verification using another device, such as a mobile phone.

• Meanwhile, GigaOm points out that AP had nearly 2 million followers before the fake tweet appeared. As of this post, the account, which was restored about 20 hours after it was suspended, has under 600,000 followers. Twitter reportedly told the AP it would take about 24 hours for its user count to return to normal.

• Finally, as if we needed another reminder after the Boston Marathon bombings and the false information that was circulated on Twitter during the manhunt for the suspects, people are taking notice of social media’s importance and influence. “Our trust of social media has reached new levels. (Wall Street’s) response also highlights that humans have a built-in truth bias to believe what others say,” Jeff Hancock, a Cornell University professor, told USA Today. And media critic Dan Gillmor reiterates the need to embrace “slow news.”  The SEC and the FBI are investigating the fake tweet, for which the Syrian Electronic Army has taken credit.


Photo of Wall Street sign by the Associated Press


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