The growing use of social networks has received a considerable amount of attention this week from companies looking to mitigate the risk associated with the information that appears in them. There are also further moves in Washington to protect personal information.

Social Networking And Compliance

The Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA) has just announced that it has released a Social Media Policy Template for the annuity, life insurance and long term care insurance arenas to ensure that companies that wish to use social media can do so and still remain compliant.

Designed for companies who feel the prohibition of social media use is too great a commercial risk, it offers guidance on how companies operating in these verticals can effectively use social media and where they can’t.

The emergence of social media challenges proves clearly that compliance is not a static endeavor, but rather one that grows, changes, and requires evolving standards and policies,” Brian Atchinson, IMSA President and CEO said.

Future plans include:

  • Social media monitoring and testing guidance that can be incorporated into an insurance company's supervisory programs.
  • Social media training program for both life insurance company staff and the company's distribution partners.

Independent securities regulator FINRA's release of Regulatory Notice 10-06 earlier this year clarifies the responsibilities of broker-dealer firms to supervise the use of social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs, to ensure that recommendations are suitable and customers are not misled. If you are interested in more you can find the template at the IMSA website, but you'll have to subscribe.

Managing Social Network Risk

A new solution for messaging and social media governance and compliance has been launched by managed services company Smarsh and social network specialist Socialware.

The 360-degree solution combines Socialware’s policy enforcement, capture, moderation and analytics capabilities for third-party networking sites, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, with the message archiving and compliance platform from Smarsh.

Socialware’s Compass solution comes with preservation, supervision and policy controls that enable financial services firms to operate in compliance with SEC and FINRA regulations.

Using it, they say, enterprises can efficiently navigate the record-keeping, suitability and supervision challenges associated with social media which was outlined in the recently issued FINRA Regulatory Notice 10-06.

Social Network Users Give Too Much Information

According to Consumer Reports latest State of the Net survey, in the past year, 52 percent of adult social network users have posted personal information such their full birth date which can increase their risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime.

The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a nationally representative survey of 2,000 online households in January. They found found that 9% of social network users experienced some form of abuse within the past year, such as malware infections, scams, identity theft or harassment.