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Twitter Stock Spikes Thanks To Acquisition Rumor Hoax Spread Through Twitter

A fake story based on Twitter's struggling business showed the power of Twitter's platform.

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At around 11:40 today, a story from appeared on the website bloomberg.market, describing how Twitter was hearing offers to be acquired for $31 billion.

Bloomberg.market had been designed to imitate Bloomberg News' actual site on Bloomberg.com. It was registered in Panama on July, 10, according to whois.net.

$TWTR more chatter http://t.co/kC98OdU2Zu

The @OpenOutcrier Twitter account was the first BuzzFeed News could find a record of to tweet the link to the story. It later disavowed the rumor. BuzzFeed News reached out to OpenOutcrier to learn where it found the link but did not receive a response.

There were several strange things about the "Bloomberg" story: it didn't show up on the Bloomberg terminal, whose flashing red breaking news headlines regularly move stocks, it referred to Twitter's departed CEO as "Richard "Dick Costello," which it doesn't typically do, also his name is "Costolo." It also made an "it's/its" mistake when discussing "it's ad products."

But still, the hoax, which appeared on a site designed to mimic the actual Bloomberg News web site fooled several highly followed reporters, was widely tweeted (Twitter's stock got a "social velocity alert" on Bloomberg) and lead to a brief spike in Twitter's stock, rising almost 8% above its opening price.

Twitter popping 5%, following this report $TWTR http://t.co/UPpU9HAmtC

Bloomberg Twitter report says $TWTR could fetch $31B in a sale. About 25% premium. $GOOGL may be suitor as well as "unnamed foreign buyer."

Ev williams onstage at #FortuneTech as this story comes out... http://t.co/1I2PHbPZzQ

This is not the first time a hoax propogated had lead to hiccup in the stock market, showing, ironically, the power of Twitter as a real time news source at the same time its future is in doubt under the leadership of an interim CEO and persistent questions about the development of its product and the growth of its userbase.

Matthew Zeitlin is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Zeitlin reports on Wall Street and big banks.

Contact Matthew Zeitlin at matt.zeitlin@buzzfeed.com.

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