Tribune blames United Airlines article mixup on Google

A financial researcher comes across a six-year-old article about United Airlines. Thinking it is a current news story, he summarizes it, then republishes the summary out of context. Within 10 minutes, a mass panic hits shareholders who are responding to his summary. More than a billion dollars evaporates into thin air.

Tribune Co. said Wednesday that the confusion over a 2002 article on
UAL Corp. started because Google Inc.’s automated search couldn’t
separate breaking news from older stories on the South Florida
Sun-Sentinel’s website.

Tribune said it identified problems with the search engine months ago
and had asked Google to stop using the function to find stories on its
newspaper websites. Google continued to pull articles from the
Sun-Sentinel’s website, where a link to the old story on United
Airlines parent UAL appeared last weekend, according to Tribune. (LA Times)

See also Forbes, Slashdot.