It’s not often that the interests of privacy advocates and high-powered Wall Street brokers cross, though this case may be the rare exception; the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is asking for access to brokers’ private Facebook posts and messages. FINRA keeps a record of all business communications done by brokers, and they’re afraid that a lot of business is going down behind closed doors on Facebook and other social media sites.
FINRA even went so far as to send a letter to ten states that ban people from accessing other users’ social media accounts, begging for there to be a loophole included that would allow the group to monitor brokers. “Prohibiting access to these accounts conflicts with a firm’s responsibilities to comply with federal requirements and threatens investor protection,” the letter read.
FINRA insists they only want access to brokers’ profiles in order to follow up and gather more evidence on individuals already suspected of fraud, insider trading or some other investment misdeed. However, if they had all of the access information, there wouldn’t be anything to stop them from accessing broker profiles whenever they felt like it, and using more than just stocks-related posts against them in some way. Investors should certainly be protected against any kind of fraud, but I violating the privacy of Wall Street employees going too far?