Artificially raising prices of stocks and spreading misinformation are hardly new and rare activities. Information is an object disseminated across venues without many having the time or inclination to investigate whether it impartially reflects facts. Without robust context, including sources, methods, independent checks, etc., information provides contingent value; i.e., its worth depends on whether it is accurate and complete in all material respects (cf. audited financial statements) – an objective component commonly called fact – and whether it is held as truthful by individuals – a subjective component commonly called belief. Inadequate decision-making ensues from the lack of either of these components.
Computer-based tools have rendered digital information administratively convenient. It can be manipulated readily, economically, and efficiently. It may be leveraged through the active voices of experts in peer-reviewed journals or the passive voices of authority figures in allowing falsehoods to gain momentum in the public domain.
It may be generalized through reliable statistics (cf. GIGO, junk science) or transferred through lessons of literature and other arts (cf. pulp fiction, propaganda).
The contingent value of information is further illustrated in the case of intoxication and other states of being that alter interpretation, including anger. Enhanced understanding and refined predisposition temporarily resulting from education and other habit- and routine-forming devices may be destabilized through lack of sleep, inordinate passion or pain, trauma, etc.
Tomorrow, I may not know what I knew yesterday (cf. restatements of accounting errors). Today, I am astounded by the overwhelming weight of belief over fact.