The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched a consultation into financial promotions in social media, warning firms that the adverts still need to be compliant, even on character-limited sites, such as Twitter.
The regulator said that certain minimum levels of information are required to ensure adverts or communications are fair, clear and not misleading.
The FCA accepts that companies have no control over whether there promotions are retweeted or sent around as links on Facebook, with companies’ responsibility being to ensure that the original message is compliant.
It advocates the use of the #ad hashtag on tweets or online posts to make clear that they are advertisements and said each individual communication must comply with the relevant rules. This includes carrying the required risk warnings with the FCA saying that companies can insert images or infographics to convey these to get round any character restrictions.
Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the FCA, said: ‘The FCA sees positive benefits from using social media but there has to be an element of compliance. Primarily, what firms do on social media must ensure customers are at the heart of their business.
‘Our overall approach is that financial promotions, whether on social media or traditional media, should be fair, clear and not misleading. We have had extensive industry engagement on this issue and we believe our guidance is a sensible approach that doesn’t affect industry’s ability to innovate using new forms of media.
‘We recognise social media are constantly evolving. We, therefore, welcome feedback to today’s consultation and look forward to continuing the discussion with industry.’
In keeping with the growing trend of using social media, the FCA said the consultation can be discussed on Twitter through the hashtag #smfca. The consultation period ends on 6 November.