Friday, October 24, 2008

Fake Steve Jobs "Heart Attack" Story Posted by a Teen: Report

Earlier this month a story was posted to CNN's iReport social news site which caused Apple stock to plummet. The stories on that site are not vetted before they are allowed to appear on the site. The story said:
Steve Jobs was rushed to the ER just a few hours ago after suffering a major heart attack. I have an insider who tells me that paramedics were called after Steve claimed to be suffering from severe chest pains and shortness of breath. My source has opted to remain anonymous, but he is quite reliable. I haven't seen anything about this anywhere else yet, and as of right now, I have no further information, so I thought this would be a good place to start. If anyone else has more information, please share it.
Because the stock plunged, the SEC obviously took interest. The post was made by an iReport user (since removed, along with the story) named "johntw."

According to Bloomberg, two people with knowledge of the matter told them that the post was made by a teenager. At this point, investigators haven't found any evidence that he tried to profit from the stock price drop.

The informants chose to remain anonymous as the probe hasn't been made public.

Michael Missal, a former enforcement lawyer at the SEC now in private practice at K&L Gates LLP in Washington, said:
"If the posting wasn't directly related to the purchase or sale of a security it's questionable the SEC would have jurisdiction. That's not to say some other agency of the U.S. government couldn't take action if it felt a law was violated.''
Jobs' health has been a source of speculation since he appeared gaunt and somewhat ill at WWDC earlier this year.

Somewhat ironically, as this update was via Bloomberg, is the fact that Bloomberg accidentally posted Steve Jobs' obituary to the new wires in late August.

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