Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Apple's stock hit by Web rumor

Online report that CEO Steve Jobs suffered a heart attack was false. SEC said to be investigating.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Steve Hargreaves, CNNMoney.com

steve_jobs.03.jpg
Apple CEO Steve Jobs
v2-cnnmoney-chart.mkw.gif

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Apple shares fell sharply Friday morning after an erroneous Web report saying founder and CEO Steve Jobs had suffered a heart attack. Shares quickly recovered after it became clear the rumor was not true.

The posting, made on iReport, a user-generated content site run by CNN, said, "Jobs was rushed to the ER just a few hours ago after suffering a major heart attack," according to Silicon Alley Insider, a blog that took a screen shot of the posting.

Apple's stock fell 10% in 10 minutes, then recovered to trade flat most of the session before closing 3% lower.

An Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) spokesman confirmed the rumor was not true, but declined to comment as to whether the company is taking any further action.

The false report was removed from the iReport site by CNN, which is a partner in CNNMoney.com.

"iReport.com is an entirely user-generated site where the content is determined by the community," the company said in a statement. "Based on our Terms of Use that govern user behavior on iReport.com, the fraudulent content was removed from the site and the user's account was disabled."

CNN spokesperson Jennifer Martin said the company has been contacted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission seeking information that may help identify who posted the comment.

The SEC, which regulates trading on the stock market, declined comment on the matter.

Jobs, who has played a key role in Apple's success in recent years, recently appeared visibly thin at a product conference, raising questions about his health.

While CNN clearly states the content on iReport is unedited and unfiltered, the false report also raises questions as to the credibility of user-generated content, and how much traditional media outlets should embrace such formats.

One expert said user-generated content, while obviously not perfect, does result in a lot of good stories and that the mainstream media shouldn't shy away from the growing medium.

"It's a mistake to say this indicates some type of larger problem," said Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at the City University of New York. "People start rumors on Wall Street all the time. Anyone with any sanity would have said I'm going to check that out, not I'm going to sell all my stock."

CNN's Martin said the company does not plan any changes in the way iReport operates.  To top of page

Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
The stock market's wild week in 6 pictures It was the wildest week in stocks in recent memory. Here's photos and CNNMoney's tweets of reactions to the panicked selling on Monday and Tuesday, which gave way to a mad buying scramble on Wednesday and Thursday. And then...a selloff on Friday again. More
How New Orleans is learning to live with water After Hurricane Katrina, the city of New Orleans had to reinvent the way it manages water and protects itself from future storms. More
Your degree will earn you the most from these colleges Art majors can make big bucks, too. Find out which school has the highest paid grads in your major. More
Sponsors