How Your Tweets and Mathematics Could Crash The Global Economy

Two years ago, a hacker took control of the Associated Press Twitter account and tweeted, “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.” Within two minutes, the Dow Jones dropped nearly 150 points and the S&P 500 had lost nearly $150 billion in value. Within five minutes, the market had recovered. The whiplash caused by the tweet was held up by many in the press as an example of the power — and ultimately the correctness — of the proprietary, lightning-fast algorithms that automatically execute financial trades based on reams of incoming data. Though these algorithms are closely held secrets, it is widely understood that they take into account social media data, including tweets.