SEC Gives Go-Ahead to Disclosures Via Social Media

Companies must tell investors in advance where to look, agency says.

U.S. companies will now be able to post their earnings on Twitter or update their status on Facebook as long as investors have been told in advance where to look.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued guidance yesterday permitting companies to use social media sites including Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. to communicate company announcements. The guidance came as part of a report detailing its investigation into Netflix Inc. Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings, who in July posted monthly viewership results on his Facebook page rather than in an SEC filing or news release.

Facebook Post

Hastings stirred controversy over SEC disclosure guidelines when he wrote in a July 3 post on Facebook’s website that viewing on Netflix’s video-streaming service had “exceeded 1 billion hours for the first time” in June. The incident led to calls for the SEC to broaden its rules to allow social media to be used to communicate to investors.

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