How Can Social Media Affect the Markets?

It was the Tweet heard 'round the world...for a few moments anyway.

Last week's hacking of the Associated Press's Twitter account, and a fake post about explosions at the White House resulted in a temporary, 150-point drop in the Dow that erased $136 billion in market value. The market quickly recovered, but regulators are concerned about how social media will affect financial markets, especially with the increasing role of computerized, high-frequency trading programs that can react in milliseconds to news stories, true or false.

The Commodities Future Trading Commission is meeting with high-frequency traders on Tuesday to discuss how to shield the markets from the incorrect information spread through social media.

Joe Nocera, columnist for The New York Times and WNYC contributor, says key-word activated high-frequency trading has confounded the government.

"Our markets work on the whole principle that it's an equal playing field for everybody, and high-frequency traders make a mockery of that," he explained.

Listen to WNYC's Amy Eddings full interview with Joe Nocera above.