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Social media and the financial sector: eight best practice tips

As of April 1, the Financial Services Authority has been replaced by two new bodies, the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA), which regulates the operations of financial organisations, and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which monitors how financial organisations treat consumers.

As far as the FCA is concerned, whether financial organisations choose to communicate over social media channels or in print, the rules remain the same.

The communication must be clear, fair and not misleading, regardless of which channel the message is broadcast over.

The FCA has already stated its intention to monitor what financial organisations are getting up to on social media, and it uses Twitter itself.

Permission email marketing, it’s what we do isn’t it?

The question of permission and customers rights regarding marketing material is one that has privacy evangelists and marketers head to head. Many forms of direct marketing can be seen by the recipients as intrusive and disturbing and this has led to a bit of a backlash.

In some cases, this has spawned legislation (as in TPS in the UK) and in others, poor publicity via the national media and threats of further control from politicians.

But, out of all of the different direct marketing channels, email seems to be the quietest when it comes to public outrage.

US marketers can no longer self-regulate

With the DMA announcing their new one million dollar PR campaign “Data-Driven Marketing Institute,” the question of privacy and rules around customer data has become a greater focus of some of the panels this morning. Jordon Cohen of Moveable Ink, brought up the headline “Target knows a teenage girl is pregnant before her own father does” and posed the question: have we finally gone too far?

For those of you who didn’t read this headline in February, an irate father charged into a Target store demanding they stop targeting his teenage daughter with emails full of baby products because she wasn’t pregnant. It turns out Target was right, and the father was wrong. She was pregnant and her shift in product purchase at Target made the marketers behind the brand know of her news before any of the world may have known.

Jason Scoggins of Freshpair stressed that targeting has to go through a “creep” filter and in the case of the Target example, they went too far.

FTC seeks to expand restrictions on data collection from children

For more than a decade, companies in the United States operating websites that collect data from children have been required to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

At the time COPPA was implemented, the internet ecosystem was far less mature, and the law didn’t cover all of the parties that today frequently collect data from children. So yesterday, the FTC published a proposal (PDF) with the intent of modifying COPPA to ensure that parties not currently governed by COPPA’s rules are covered.

As European Commission sues five countries, is the cookie law starting to crumble?

For large organizations like the BBC, ignoring the recently-enacted EU cookie law probably isn’t a viable option. Despite the headaches associated with implementing a solution, the threat of legal actions and fines probably outweighs the costs of compliance.

It’s a different story for entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses, some of whom indicated a willingness to flout the law until given a reason to reconsider.

Even the EU can’t comply with its own cookie law

If ibuprofen sales are up in the EU this year, it might have something to do with the nightmare known as the EU cookie law.

For major companies operating in affected countries, the solution to the problem has been, well, to find a solution to the problem. And for good reason: with the possibility of enforcement action, few businesses can afford not to address the law.

But apparently the EU itself can’t be bothered with complying with its own rules.

Will the OFT regulate paid tweets?

Marketers have been paying celebrities to endorse their products and services for decades, so it’s no surprise that there’s a booming market for celebrity endorsements via their social media profiles.

With the help of companies like Ad.ly, celebrities and ‘influencers’ are reportedly earning thousands upon thousands of dollars for a single tweet or Facebook status update.

In the United States, marketers paying high-profile individuals to tweet and blog about their products worried the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) so much that it developed guidelines around the practice.