As we have chronicled in detail, CNN’s iReport citizen journalism site reported this morning that Apple’s Steve Jobs had had a “severe heart attack” and been rushed to the hospital. The report briefly clobbered Apple’s stock. About 20 minutes after we and Bloomberg reported that the iReport was false, CNN removed it. Later, CNN declared the report “fraudulent.”
We expected that the false report would lead to an SEC investigation, and, indeed, the SEC has already launched one.
Here’s CNN’s statement about the Steve Jobs heart attack story that appeared on its iReport site this morning:
Later, the company confirmed Bloomberg that it is talking to the SEC:
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the origin of a false report on a CNN citizen journalist Web site that Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs had a heart attack and was hospitalized. The agency’s enforcement unit is trying to determine whether the iReport.com posting was intended to push down the company’s stock price. CNN is cooperating with the SEC’s probe, network spokeswoman Jennifer Martin said.
So obviously, this imbroglio will force CNN to rethink iReport and its user-generated news concept, right? No, it’s not, Jennifer Martin tells us. The site has policies that forbid people from making up stories about the health of the celebrity CEOs, she points out: “For the user-generated community of ireport.com, it’s been working up to this point.”
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