Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The role of @YahooNews in the latest stock market issues

I use Yahoo! e-mail through my web browser.  I get there by going to the Yahoo! home page and clicking on "mail."

The Yahoo! home page has pretty much a standard appearance most times I go there.  There's a list of options on the left. There's an image in the top center which is a still from a video.  The image moves through a list of top stories.  There's a list of trending topics on the right.

Below the still from the video there is a list of stories.

Many of the "news" items on the front page are not hard news, usually human interest or celebrity gossip -- or, if they are hard news, they're usually about crimes, rather than finance or world affairs.  Here's an example

On Friday, August 21, 2015, the stock market dropped by over 500 points.

During the weekend following, I was accessing the Internet from Time Warner Cable in northern New Hampshire.  During that entire weekend, the Yahoo homepage had a different format.   Only the list of stories, which are in the bottom center of the above screen capture, was displayed on the home page as I saw it.  The first story in the list was the "stockmarket meltdown".  Since I was accessing the computer with an older deskbook, with a smallish screen, the description of that story was pretty much the only thing I could see on the Yahoo! home page.

Naturally, the market fell again on Monday.

Now today again they have a sponsored item -- presumably some kind of paid add -- which is second in the list of stories at the bottom center, and which is predicting a depression, even though the market is up.

The behavior of Yahoo! is clearly part of the problem: generating panic.  What interest does Yahoo! have that makes them incite panic and further reduction in the price of stocks?  Why are they doing this?

On the one hand, I don't like the idea of censorship.  On the other hand, I can certainly sympathize with the decision of some governments, such as China, to prohibit the spreading of political rumors.  These rumors and cause destabilizing panic -- and just undermine public confidence.

News media should be more responsible in trying to disseminate calm rather than panic.

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