This is the fourth installment in my series of posts on the FCA and social media.
In this piece I’m focusing on a few smaller points that don’t merit a post of their own, but are still vital to understand.
Re-tweets and forwarding
When re-tweeting or sharing a post the responsibility for compliance lies with the originator, not the sharer. So, if you’ve written it, it’s your responsibility – no matter who shares it.
However, that raises the thorny problem of what happens when sharing creates non-compliance. This could happen if a private tweet intended for a colleague was retweeted by a member of the public. The FCA is vague on this point, just stating that ‘firms should take steps in their labeling and targeting of communications to mitigate the risk of this happening.’
Not terribly helpful.
Yet, if your firm shares a customer’s post that is non-compliant – eg one that extols the benefits of a particular fund – then you are breaking FCA rules. However, sharing posts that are simply general praise – such as a thank you for great customer service – is acceptable.
Records and approval
All pieces of social media content must be signed off by someone in your firm who – in the FCA’s words – is of ‘appropriate competence and seniority’.
You must keep records of all social media posts, no matter how old. These must demonstrate when a post was first written, who reviewed and approved it and how it was commented on or changed
Your records must be securely stored off-line – not just on social media sites – and be presented for inspection on request.
Beware the ASA
In its literature, the FCA reminds firms they must also abide by the rules laid out by the Advertising Standards Agency in its Advertising Practice Code.
• When sharing posts, the responsibility for compliance rests with the original communicator, not the sharer
• You must take steps to prevent non-compliance through sharing – eg by a customer re-tweeting a private tweet
• You are breaking FCA rules if you share a customer’s post that is non-compliant
• All posts must be approved by a senior member of staff
• Records must be kept detailing times, approvals and changes made. These must be stored off-line
• The FCA recommends following Advertising Standards Agency rules