Is it That Easy to Game Google News and the Markets?

Story behind United Airlines's stock plunge seems an invitation to the unscrupulous.

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It seems easy enough to try again, on purpose. The fact is that some clicks sent an outdated story to a newspaper's list of "Popular Stories Business: Most Viewed." Then Google's bot picked it up, a newsletter picked it up from Google, and United Airlines's stock went into freefall.

We don't know how many clicks it took. But it's safe to assume that at 1 a.m., it didn't take many to elevate the story.

So, if I were an unscrupulous stock trader with time to kill, why not try? Click away with one hand, and have the other on the "buy" button—ready to pounce when the shares take an unwarranted dive.