I waited for a day before blasting out about the quick plummet of Apple's stock Friday upon an iReport on CNN.com about Steve Jobs having a heart attack. Wrong info, no moderation, and clearly enough people were triggered by the tip (false as it turns out) to dump stock in such a way that its price declined. But to see the response online, you'd think that there was a call to outlaw so-called citizen journalism.
The first thing I have to say is: What on earth are people thinking? Unverified, anonymous online conjecture is bad no matter what you're using it for. But to invest or divest? Really? Is that what you'll use when you want to dump Apple stock? A CNN.com iReport?
Let's get a grip. We at the paper don't feel safe in carrying rumours, even if we attribute them. We don't carry unsourced material unless we have authenticated it and could ensure we'd be able to defend it in court.
If we get to the point where anything online can send a stable firm like Apple into a seizure, we're in more trouble than we thought.