A citizen journalist, part of the iReport.com site, posted a fake news on Apple's CEO saying that Steve Jobs has had a heart attack when the man behind Apple's revival was actually alive and well.
iReport, which is owned by CNN, proudly presents itself as being unedited and unfiltered but someone seems to have used these "features" to try and propagate fake news in a bit to short Apple's shares.
New York Times reported recently that Apple's CEO told his board that he was cancer free after having been a gruelling cancer surgery that caused him to lose weight.
In 12 minutes, Apple's shares fell by nearly USD 10, to USD 95.65, slashing more than USD 8.5 billion from Apple capitalisation and piling more pressure on a bruised and battered share which has lost 42 percent since the 15th of August.
Interestingly, back in August when Bloomberg (opens in new tab) mistakenly released Steve Jobs "true" obituary, Apple's stock price fell by only USD 4.
Apple's frightful fall highlighted the dangers of unchecked and unfettered so call citizen journalism. Although the culprit's account has now been disabled and the news report deleted, others could take heed and use the current unstable financial situation to short a few high flying companies in order to make millions.
The Stock Exchange Commission is likely to kickstart an investigation which could lead to the fake reporter spending a few months behind bars.