There are many things that can affect the value of a company, as anyone who watches Dragons’ Den will attest. Assets, profitability, impending contracts and even rumours of a sale or merger are some of the things that can increase a company’s perceived value. The latter, of course, doesn’t in any way even need to be true, as Twitter found out this week.
A hoax news story spread by a fake website which looked a bit like Bloomberg – a site which is no longer online – reported that a ‘foreign entity’ was looking at acquiring the social media platform. Naturally, the fake story was shared on Twitter (where else would you share unfounded rumours?) and the social media’s stock value increased, amid frenzied activity from shareholders dreaming of those huge impending payouts.
The news story claimed that Twitter was about to be acquired for a total of $31bn, which caused a spark in its share price by 8.5%. Ty Trippet, from the real Bloomberg, stated the story was a fake and the company is looking into ‘market manipulation’.
— Ty Trippet (@ttrippet) July 14, 2015
Twitter’s increased value very quickly returned to normal following the outing of the fake story.
What this does tell us, however, is that social media has a very disturbing power. A shared story and a few Tweets (OK, probably thousands) can add hundreds of millions to the value of a business. More than this, it can destroy reputations, end careers and even, in some cases, cause deaths (especially in the case of online bullying).
With this kind of power, imagine what it could do for your business if you embraced it.
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