The SEC recently outlined new disclosure rules that clarify how companies can use Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks to distribute information to the public, as long as they meet certain requirements.
With the new guidelines, it seems as though the S.E.C. recognized the presence of social media. In the past, the federal agency sent warnings to companies, such as Netflix, that it could take against them for messages posted by chief executives.
Regulators outlined that companies can treat social media as legitimate outlets for communication, much like corporate Web sites. However, corporations must make clear which Twitter feeds or Facebook pages will serve as potential outlets for announcements.
The agency’s enforcement chief indicated that “One set of shareholders should not be able to get a jump on other shareholders just because the company is selectively disclosing important information…Most social media are perfectly suitable methods for communicating with investors, but not if the access is restricted or if investors don’t know that’s where they need to turn to get the latest news.”
Do you think social media is an acceptable forum for receiving pertinent company information? Although the S.E.C. has made strides in recognizing social media, it may still reduce company spontaneity, as companies may still have to file the information it releases with the agency at the same time. Do you think the S.E.C. has come far enough in recognizing social media as a viable source of information?