The power of social media has revealed itself today in the form of fluctuation in fuel prices based on a false tweet.

According to The Wall Street Journal, a Twitter account claiming to be Russian Interior Minister Vladamir Kolokoltsv tweeted that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad had been injured or killed. That tweet which occurred at 9:59 AM EST, was followed by two more tweets alleging the confirmation of al-Assad's death.

In the hour following that tweet, light, sweet crude prices rose from $90.82 to $91.99, and the jump took place in between 10:15 and 10:45. According to the Reuters report, the Russian ministry denies firing off the tweets and denies any connection to the account.

Price Futures Group analyst Phil Flynn pointed out "a well-placed story can move the market, and that looks like what happened." Though Syria itself is not a major oil producer, it is feared that Iran would react to the news because of their connection to and support of Assad

In the wake of sanctions imposed due to their continued participation in a nuclear weapons program, Iran has threatened to close off the Straight of Hormuz, a major throughway for ships carrying crude oil to the rest of the world.

Because of the hypersensitivity of the international tensions in the Middle East, and those trading in oils who follow the area closely, the rumor of Assad's demised spread like wildfire. The combination of Mideast unrest, and the spread of information through texts and tweets means it's unlikely this is the last time something like this will happen.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Radioactive Flea
      • 3 Years Ago
      I caught a cold. I guess oil is going up now.
      • 3 Years Ago
      First, buy a car (or truck) that gets better fuel mileage. People get suckered into buying gas guzzlers, or vehicles that get less than optimum mileage, EVERY TIME the price of fuel goes down. Second, if interested in what's going on watch the strength of the dollar. Our astounding debt levels is, and will continue, to affect on the dollar's value as time goes on - and at an increasing rate. Prepare yourself starting with some sensible personal buying and saving habits. Its only going to get worse. Quite whining and change your behavior.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Actually, the root of the problem is people making bank on oil speculation, which affects our wallet at the pump, yet is often based on nothing. Supply and demand has had little to do with our gas prices for a long time. This just reflects that fact, that speculation affects us, but people still get rich. **** this stupid petroleum system. Exxon paid 2% taxes last year, we all paid more. A simple tweet sends the bankers to the phones, and we pay for their self-inflicted fear. This sucks.
        • 3 Years Ago
        No- ACTUALLY, the root of this problem is that we are ruled by elites who don't like the fact that cheap energy allows the peasants to thrive in their own lives without needing their big government handouts. Plus, if you raised taxes on Exxon, you think they would just eat that and not pass it on to those who buy gas? Businesses exist to make a profit, period. They do not pay taxes, they pass them to their customers/consumers. If that doesn't sit well with you, consider subsistence farming, bud.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I thought it was the Strait of Hormuz. I love learning about geography and journalism on this site.
      • 3 Years Ago
        • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Get real! The reason is the oil industry is raising prices in an attempt to affect the outcome of the upcoming election. People Pay Attention!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Big Oil has you where they want you and all do do is complain, very funny stuff.
      • 3 Years Ago
      That story is nothing but a steaming pile. I read another story that the higher prices was due to malfunctions at refineries in illinois and indiana. The oil companies will make up any excuse to raise the price of gas. OK, lets say it was over false information like the article says, do you think the price of a gallon of gas is going to drop 50 cents in a week just like it went up? In my area we were paying about $3.80 a gallon when the price of a barrel of crude was at $110. Now a barrel is at about $90 and we are paying $3.77 a gallon now how is that not gouging by the oil companies. The constant greed by the oil companies has been one of the main factors in the downturn of our economy and until the federal government steps in, the greed will continue and so will the downward spiral of our economy.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I'm a physicist. I ride my bike for errands. It doesn't use any gas at all and has kevlar easy roll tires.
          • 3 Years Ago
          Umm....ok, good for you?
      • 3 Years Ago
      the oil companies are a bunch of crooks is why gas keeps rising , duh !
      William Moriarty
      • 3 Years Ago
      No blame the greedy oil companies!
      • 3 Years Ago
      the oil companies love it . EVERYthing gets blamed for higher oil prices EXCEPT their greed
      • 3 Years Ago
      They don't need a reason, the reason is corporate greed.
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