FINRA Offers More Guidance on Use of Social Media
FINRA has issued a Regulatory Notice answering questions about the regulation of social media websites and the use of personal devices. FINRA notes that firms have supervision and recordkeeping obligations based on the content of the communications (i.e. whether they are business communications) not based on the media itself. Consequently, a supervising principal must review any social media site and communication that an associated person intends to use for business purposes and file static postings as advertisements. Firms must also ensure proper recordkeeping of all business-related communications. FINRA adds that technology that automatically erases or deletes electronic communications would run afoul of a firm’s recordkeeping obligations. FINRA also allows the use of personal devices but recommends specific (and secure) business applications to separate personal from business content. FINRA recommends training and education about the definition of business communications. FINRA indicates that Regulatory Notice 11-39 supplements last year’s Regulatory Notice 10-06.
OUR TAKE: It is very difficult for firms to monitor third party social networking sites accessed with personal devices. Many firms have chosen to prohibit business communications not conducted with approved devices on approved sites.