Fake Google Announcement Was Likely a Stock Pump-and-Dump Scheme
You are what you link to.
Several news organizations earlier today repeated information from a phony press release that circulated after 10 a.m., claiming Google was acquiring a tiny Rhode Island firm, ICOA, that installs public Wi-Fi nodes. The release first circulated on PRWeb, a free service operated by a public relations company called Vocus.
The release had a few telltale signs of fraud, with no contact information or canned quotes. It would have been stunning news about ICOA—a $400 million acquisition of a penny-stock company with a total market cap of less than $1 million—and the result can be seen in its stock price, which soared from 1/100th of a penny to 1/20th of a penny (a fivefold increase) before plunging back to where it started by noon.
ICOA CEO George Strouthopoulos wrote me this explanation: “Earlier today, I spoke with Megan from the PRWeb editor’s desk … inquiring who the heck gave them the [press release]. She told me it came from firstname.lastname@example.org and the phone number was 297-555-2951. This email is fake, because it is not an ICOA email and the number is not from U.S. The 297 area code is from Aruba.” Also, note that the phone number starts with 555, which, as we all know from years of watching television dramas, is never an actual phone number.
OK. So score one for a pump-and-dump operation; that is, a fraud scheme in which someone spreads phony positive information about a company in order to inflate a stock price and create a selling opportunity.
Too bad it wasn’t true. It would have been almost as astonishing as Google deciding to parachute into a Midwestern city to install the fastest Internet connections in the nation (see “Google’s Internet Service Might Actually Bring the U.S. Up to Speed”).
Geoffrey Hinton tells us why he’s now scared of the tech he helped build
“I have suddenly switched my views on whether these things are going to be more intelligent than us.”
ChatGPT is going to change education, not destroy it
The narrative around cheating students doesn’t tell the whole story. Meet the teachers who think generative AI could actually make learning better.
Meet the people who use Notion to plan their whole lives
The workplace tool’s appeal extends far beyond organizing work projects. Many users find it’s just as useful for managing their free time.
Learning to code isn’t enough
Historically, learn-to-code efforts have provided opportunities for the few, but new efforts are aiming to be inclusive.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.