The SEC is going (back in 2011) to track Facebook,Twitter,Linkedin postings. Consider this imaginary scenario, more plausible as the Facebook generation grows up.
[ Note: This post from March 9, 2011 was updated for formatting issues on May 31, 2021]
Imagine that as a Director of a company you are going down the elevator, after an exciting board meeting, talking with a fellow Director about a particularly popular brand’s pricing and how the latest re-branding campaign is going to make sales zoom. Two cleaning employees from the facilities cleaning company join the elevator and hey- they have brooms and the vacuum cleaner and it’s anyway time to clean up! The cleaning folks overhear part of your comments and actually ask you. You sort of clarify,perhaps enthusiastically. And that night these employees (of the cleaning contractor) have something interesting to share among their friends on Facebook and maybe some enterprising friends of friends buy a few shares.There are time imprints for all the Facebook sharing and the online buy orders (OK they are just $100 buys).The Directors, company is in serious violation and probably the poor cleaning contractor is also in SEC violation for sharing private and privileged information.
As information,opinions and pure speculation become instantly accessible online with the Internet and social media at this third cusp of the information age, its perhaps time to re-look at the regulatory frameworks devised for the telephone age, at most. The telephone age seems so long ago, right?