FCA Guidance Social Media

FCA Guidance: Social Media Records Are Your Responsibility

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued final guidance on social media for financial promotions. The FCA is an independent agency charged with providing regulatory guidance to financial firms in the UK, and maintaining the integrity of UK’s financial markets. After spending several months reviewing feedback from member firms, the FCA has released their much anticipated final guidelines for firms using social media. The new guidance gives specific recommendations regarding social media records and cautions firms that relying on social media platforms to retain records is not sufficient.

Approval and record-keeping

1.24 We remind firms of their obligations to have an adequate system in place to sign off digital media communications. This sign-off should be by a person of appropriate competence and seniority within the organisation.

1.25 Firms should also keep adequate records of any significant communications. As well as helping to protect consumers, these records enable the firm to deal effectively with any subsequent claims or complaints. Firms should not rely on digital media channels to maintain records, as they will not have control over this: social media in particular may refresh content from time to time, with the consequent deletion of older material.

1.26 In summary, the current sign-off and record-keeping provisions in the relevant chapters of the conduct of business sourcebooks in our Handbook apply to digital (including specifically social) media in the same way as to print, broadcast and outdoor media. Beyond that, these matters are a question of risk management by the firm. We refer firms to the provisions in our Senior Management Arrangements, Systems and Controls manual, referenced in the footnote to paragraph 1.24 above. Risk management encompasses all relevant risks, including legal and reputational risk, as well as regulatory risk.

FCA Guidance: Social Media Records Are Not Guaranteed by Platforms

The FCA guidance on social media records is significant because it dispels the misconception that users can rely on social media platforms to keep records. The report cautions firms about the limitations of social media platforms to retain records and puts the responsibility for social media record retention on users. For a financial firm using social media there are two crucial distinctions between a Twitter feed or Facebook wall and a records archive. For one, comments made by others are outside of the firm’s control and can be deleted from the platform at any time. Two, the platforms make no guarantees that they will retain posted information.

Social Media Records Can Be Preserved with the Right Tools

In developing these guidelines, the FCA acknowledges how essential social media is to the ability of financial firms to reach customers. In fact, the FCA used social media to distribute the draft report and request feedback. Fortunately, tools that make following the FCA guidance on social media are available and within reach of even the smallest firms. ArchiveSocial makes it possible to automate retention of social media records with just a few clicks, and new retention rules allow firms to set disposition schedules according to their own risk management profiles.

Try It for Free

Firms looking to implement the FCA guidance on social media records can get started on a risk-free 30 day trial immediately. Simply click the button below to set up a sample archive using your Twitter account and then watch the video to learn how to add your Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other accounts.

Sample My Archive

The full March 2015 FCA Guidance on Social Media can be found here: FCA Guidance

Related content: Using Social Media to Connect with Clients