In a world where netizens are taught to avoid fake news by sticking to reputable sources, one of the most reliable newswires published an erroneous story that did not make sense for everyone who read it.
Google To Buy Apple For $9 Billion: Fake News
In the morning of Oct. 11, Dow Jones released several headlines and an associated story on a supposed transaction for Google to buy Apple for $9 billion. Most people, however, immediately knew that the story was fake.
In the story, Dow Jones reported that Larry Page, incorrectly referred to as Google CEO, as he is now CEO of parent company Alphabet, spoke with Apple's former CEO Steve Jobs in 2010 before he passed away to finalize the deal. The acquisition was said to be closing tomorrow and that Google will be moving into "Apple's fancy headquarters." Lastly the report claimed that Google employees said "Yay."
The reported purchase price of $9 billion is also a red flag, considering that it is nowhere near the $800 billion market value of Apple.
Apple shares briefly spiked after the release of the fake news, presumably not because a significant number of shareholders believed the fake story but because computer algorithms picked up the report and gathered Apple stock.
Dow Jones Retracts Fake Story, Blames Technical Error
Dow Jones, in a statement, said that the fake news was released by the newswire due to a technical error and that all the erroneous headlines will be removed from its service. The company, however, did not reveal any further details on the embarrassing error.
News organizations have been known to write fake news for internal testing purposes. However, it appears that either one of Dow Jones' employees hit the publish button for the Google-Apple story by mistake, or a system glitch did so.
Fake news has been a very difficult problem to solve online as evidenced with the tragic Las Vegas shooting last week. After the incident, erroneous reports dominated the platforms of Facebook and Google, showing that the services are still suffering from the fake news problem despite many promises to resolve the issue.
Dow Jones, meanwhile, will be clamping down on its processes to ensure that something like this will not happen again, according to CEO William Lewis. While the fake story was entertaining to read, the online world will be much better off without any more fake news propagating through it.