The SEC issued a report today that clarifies that companies may use social media outlets to make key announcements in compliance with Regulation FD (Fair Disclosure) so long as investors have previously been alerted about which social media outlet(s) will be used to disseminate such information.

Regulation FD requires companies to distribute material information in a manner reasonably designed to get that information out to the general public broadly and non-selectively.  Companies should review the SEC guidance issued in 2008 regarding the dissemination of information via websites, as that guidance also applies to questions relating to communication through social media.

The SEC report relates to an inquiry by the Division of Enforcement into a post made by Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, on his personal Facebook page that Netflix’s monthly online viewing had exceeded one billion hours for the first time.  The SEC did not initiate enforcement action or allege wrongdoing by Hastings or Netflix, recognizing that there has been market uncertainty about the application of Regulation FD to social media.