SEC launches probe into phony Jobs heart attack report

Securities and Exchange Commission investigators have asked for information on the person who filed the false report to a CNN-owned site.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
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Apple CEO Steve Jobs CNET News

The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking for the person who falsely reported that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had suffered a heart attack on Friday.

Jennifer Martin, a CNN spokeswoman told CNET News that SEC investigators contacted the cable-news broadcaster seeking information on the person who posted the phony story to iReport.com. The CNN-owned site is dedicated to hosting news submitted by members of the public.

The Jobs heart attack story was categorically denied by Apple but not before the company's stock was already in a steep dive. Shares of Apple fell more than 9 percent before rebounding. Apple's share price closed trading Friday at $97.07, down 3 percent.

Some observers have speculated that someone may have posted the story to manipulate the stock market. A source close to the investigation said that CNN has attempted to contact the anonymous poster but hasn't received a reply. Martin declined to say what kind of information the SEC has requested.

In order to submit a story on iReport, a person need only submit an e-mail address. Martin said that it clearly says on the site that most stories are not edited, filtered, or vetted. Those stories that have been checked out are labeled "On CNN." This means that the cable network has verified the report and is using it on a CNN-branded TV show or Web site, she said. The Jobs heart attack story never got that label.

I'm working on a story in which I'll try to answer some of the questions about how this happened. It should be posted soon.