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New media feels heat after Apple misstep

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That process took a few hours in this case but clearly some investors didn't wait. Apple's share price lost nearly $12 before rebounding when the truth emerged.

The incident is a cautionary note for readers but has lessons for those involved in guiding user content, too.

One lesson may be that community policing of content can help bury bogus reports. The Steve Jobs report was submitted to other websites including Digg, says Arnold Kim of Digg relies on user input to raise or lower the prominence of stories, and it was users who kept this story off the front page, writes Mr. Kim on his blog.

By contrast, CNN's iReport is less mediated by human input. The most recently uploaded stories show up on the home page, as well as the "newsiest" stories as determined by an algorithm that factors in user opinions. CNN spokesperson Jennifer Martin says the Jobs story never appeared under "newsiest."

The filter of peer ratings works well for Helium, another site that publishes user-submitted writings. Submissions go through an automated plagiarism check and are then reviewed by the site's community of nonstaff writers. The top-rated articles rise to highest visibility.

"What it tends to do is discourage the bad actors over time because they get vetted out," says Peter Newton, vice president of business development.

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