Orgnet.com shows how rumors fueled a run on Swedish-owned banks in Latvia over the weekend.Analysis by the social network analytics company
Banking officials are calling it the world's first ever social media-fueled run on banks, and officials say that the misinformation campaign may have been a deliberate attempt to destabilize Latvia amidst the ongoing European debt crisis.
The doomsday messages, which were quickly re-tweeted and shared on social networks, targeted Swedish banks operating in Latvia. None of them, which ranged from closed branches to the arrest of a bank executive, were true, according to bank officials and regulators. Latvian officials said they are still trying to piece together what happened over the weekend.
Typically, news stories originate from several different information sources when they spread among social network users, but Orgnet.com's graphic of the Swedbank run shows all the information going back to one main source. Update: Orgnet.com has identified the main source in the graphic as Swedbank and its efforts to quell rumors on Twitter.
From the graphic: "The nodes are Twitter users, mostly in Latvia. Links are drawn between two nodes who RT'ed or @ messaged each other. The time period is December 6-12, 2011."
Twitter's rumor mill spinning out of control isn't a new story. But this appears to be the first time it disrupted a financial institution, which could result in serious consequences. According to a Swedebank representative quoted by Marketwatch, "authorities may bring legal charges against the persons spreading the rumors, as such activity is illegal in the country."