FINRA recently sanction a registered representative for tweets made some time ago.  The offending tweets referenced a stock that he did not disclose that he owned and were otherwise biased and not backed up by facts. 

The registered representative was fined $15,000 and given a ten day suspension.  In the larger scheme of things, a relative slap of the wrist.  What was more interesting was the age of the tweets. idea.jpg

The first offending tweets dated back to 2009.  The most recent offending tweets were from 2011.   So what does this mean for those of you who like to use social media to get the word out? 

For one, it certainly appears as though FINRA is taking a long look at tweets to determine if any are offensive.  If you tweeted a few years ago, you may still be subject to FINRA review. 

For those of you who want to tweet, make sure you look at your firm WSPs on the use of social media.  Typically, static content (like LinkedIn) would have to be preapproved advertisement by the member firm.  Interactive media (like Twitter) generally will not require pre-approval, but the firm will be required to be maintained by the firm for review and supervision. 

Social media is great, but use your head.  Check firm policies and be smart.  Believe it or not, the “if it feels wrong it is wrong” test does work.  Don’t tout stocks on Twitter and, if you do, disclose if you own it.  FINRA is serious about social media abuse.

* photo from