Google News displays '02 United Airline story and causes $1 billion run

Google News’ credibility is, ironically, in the news after the bots in charge decided that a 2002 news article about United Airlines then recent bankruptcy should belong under the “most viewed” section. Once the headline appeared, anxious investors purged over $1 billion of the companies stock, causing it to drop from around $12 a share to just under $3 before trading was stopped. Fortunately, for United Airlines, the stock rose back over $11 by the end of trading day. 

The US Securities and Exchange Commission just launched a probe into the weeks events and United is contemplating legal action. Obviously there was a huge mistake somewhere along the line, which brings up the issue of computer algorithms verses human editors. You don’t have to feed computers three times a day and they don’t tend to congregate around watering holes, but a human might have caught this from the start.

With that being said, humans spread the bankruptcy story with live editors from the Sun Sentinel and Bloomberg writing follow-up’s of what they thought was a current event. In turn, many investors purged their stock without proper research either – $1,000,000,000 is a lot of money. 

Most of the time, human editors and writers can analyze a situation from a side that a computer cannot. Sure, we make mistakes – and you point each and everyone out in the comments – but you wouldn’t want to read a blog wrote by bots. Right? Hopefully? Maybe? Somewhat? M’kay.