Businesses Take a Cautious Approach to Disclosures Using Social Media

By Michelle Leder and Michael. J de la Merced, The New York Times, 25th April 2013

Zynga’s latest quarterly earnings report, released on Wednesday, came in the typical format and was accompanied with the usual financial tables investors expect.

But the social gaming company that counts FarmVille among its games included a new addition: a 204-word paragraph encouraging investors to check its corporate blog and Facebook and Twitter pages for regular news updates.

It was just one of dozens of companies taking advantage of newly clarified rules from the Securities and Exchange Commission that have now blessed the use of social media sites to disclose financial information.

Although social networks have proliferated for years and the public more readily turns to Twitter than the S.E.C.’s Edgar Web portal for updates, the agency just a few months ago was still evaluating whether using newer outlets would violate its rules.

Even with the updated guidelines, uncertainty over what exactly the commission will allow has meant that many companies, and their legal teams, are playing it safe this earnings season. Continue reading…

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