The SEC opened the barn doors on use of social media, or merely reaffirmed existing guidance, depending on your point of view, in a recent Section 21(a) report.
Netflix, the subject of the Section 21(a) report, promptly responded by filing this Form 8-K. The 8-K announces two Netfix blogs, the Netflix Facebook page and Reed Hastings Facebook page as places where information may be posted. In addition, updates to the list will be announced on Netflix’s investor relations page. That’s a lot of places to look.
Social media watchers wondered who would be next, and it turned out to be little known Infrax Systems, Inc. Infrax announced its Facebook and Twitter feed may contain material information. Social media and investor relations guru Dominic Jones of the IR Web Report noted on Twitter that “There’s something not quite right about a Co. with 1 tweet and 16 followers using Twitter for Reg FD.”
AutoNation was the next to follow suit, announcing its Facebook page and Twitter feed, together with CEO Mike Jackson’s Facebook page and Twitter feed, are places where material information might by posted. Dominic Jones noted on Twitter that “Jackson has been using both channels for a long time and uses them well.” So these may be channels worth monitoring for those who want to get in the business.
Just because the SEC says it is OK in some circumstances doesn’t mean that the NYSE thinks it’s always a good idea. As Broc Romanek points out on TheCorpororateCounsel.net, the NYSE recently sent listed companies a letter reminding them while Reg FD channels are great and required, you still have to give the NYSE advance notice before the release of material news, whether on Twitter or Facebook or by traditional press release.
[Update: AllianceBerstein announced it is going to live tweet its earnings conference call. Where is all of this going to go? Hat tip to @footnoted]
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