Globe and Mail
The Tweet was true, but it wasn’t news. The posting referred to an attack 40 years ago in the Yom Kippur war, the latest in a series of Tweets from the Israel Defence Forces Twitter handle (@IDFSpokesperson) commemorating the war.
The Tweet just before 10:30 a.m. ET stated: “October 10 #YomKippur73: Israel Air Force bombards airports in Syria to prevent Soviet weapons reaching the Syrian Army.” It then links to a website that gives a day-by-day account of the war.
“Obviously this was part of our Yom Kippur Twitter series. The facts are there and simple to read. It was apparent within the Tweet itself,” said IDF spokesman Peter Lerner.
Although traders quickly realized the historical nature of the Tweet, oil prices maintained their gains, supported in large part by hopes of a breakthrough in U.S. debt discussions and earlier anxiety over political stability in Libya.
Front-month Brent crude prices rallied from $110.40 a barrel at 10:20 a.m. ET – just before the Tweet – to as high as $111.50 just after 11 a.m., as trading volumes rose. By 1 p.m. oil was up $2.68 a barrel to $111.74, its highest in a month.
The incident is the latest example of how social media outlets are playing an increasingly important role in financial markets, often causing sudden moves – not always corrected.