Laws May Limit Employers’ Social Media Access

Securities firms will find it harder to monitor their employees’ social media websites for evidence of mis-selling or other regulatory violations in states considering new privacy laws, say regulators, securities firm managers and regulatory attorneys.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) wrote in a letter to a California assemblywoman that her privacy legislation, which Governor Jerry Brown signed on Thursday, would present compliance challenges for regulators and securities companies. California is among several states that either have or are considering laws that would ban employer access to employees’ private social media sites.

Firms have strict rules about the securities information their employees can put on private and company social media sites because investment advisers and broker-dealers tend to use both interchangeably, said several industry experts. Some require employees to give them access to private accounts on websites such as LinkedIn Corp. and Facebook Inc.

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