On Tuesday April 3rd , the Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.), the federal agency regulating the US’s stock and options exchanges and other electronic securities markets, outlined new disclosure rules that clarify how companies can use social media.
During last December, the market regulator warned the company Netflix, whose shares are traded on the NASDAQ market, that the S.E.C. could take action against the company regarding their chief executive’s message, Reed Hastings, posted in his Facebook page. On his Facebook feed the chief executive congratulated his team for exceeding one billion hours of video watched in a single month. For the federal agency, the message violated “regulation fair disclosure”, which requires a company to publish material information to all investors at the same time.
After an investigation of several months, regulators said that companies could treat social media as legitimate outlets for communication, much like corporate Web sites. Now, thanks to the S.E.C.’s decision, if they meet certain requirements, US companies, whose securities are admitted to trading on a stock market, are allowed to disseminate information on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. With this decision, the S.E.C is trying to catch up with the new era of social media.
What are the requirements? Companies are allowed to spread information on social media like on their official website. Most social medias are suitable methods to communicate with investors, except if the access is restricted or if investors do not know that is where they need to turn to get the latest news. Two requirements are important, the social media must be open for all investors, and the latter must know whether the social media is being used by the company.
If the two requirements are complied the companies are able to spread information on Facebook, Twitter, or other social network. What about some changes in the French law?