Guidance from Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) brings social media like Facebook and Twitter into line with other media.
The ‘Social media and customer communications’ document from the co-operative registrar, covers financial promotions on blogs, forums, microblogs like Twitter, social networks including Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ and image and video-sharing platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Vine and Pinterest.
Organisations must ensure their original communication remains fair, clear and not misleading, even if it ends up in front of a non-intended recipient, through retweeting on Twitter or sharing on Facebook for example.
Giles Simon, communications and marketing manager at Co-operatives UK, welcomed the guidelines. “Co-operatives and bencoms, just like any other business types, must recognise that authorised financial promotions published via social media are subject to the same rules and laws as financial promotions published by other means,” he said.
“Even when undertaking financial promotions which fall outside the regulated space, such as many community share offers, we believe that co-operatives and bencoms can benefit from the provisions set out by the FCA to help inform their social media activity. Social media can be a powerful tool for reaching and engaging with a wide audience.
“The Community Shares Unit (CSU) already provides good practice guidance for societies via the Community Shares Handbook, which contains helpful advice on undertaking social media activity associated with community share offers. The CSU will continue to ensure this aligns appropriately with FCA guidance on financial promotions through social media, especially as it begins to work towards rolling out a standards mark this summer. The mark will be available for share offer documents that meet best practice.”