FSA gets tough on Twitter ads

The FSA is taking a tough stance against financial services firms advertising products on Twitter, forcing firms to remove or amend tweets it deems to be unsuitable.

Last week, Money Marketing’s sister publication Mortgage Strategy reported that the regulator has told a number of mortgage brokers to amend or remove tweets on the social networking website.

Money Marketing understands the regulator’s concerns extend across all areas of financial services.

In a financial promotions industry update, published in June 2010, the FSA said its financial promotion rules apply to new media sites such as Facebook and Twitter in the same way as adverts via any other medium.

It said that because Twitter limits the number of characters that can be used, posts on the site may be an insufficient means of providing balanced and sufficient information.

Michael Philips proprietor Michael Both says: “To be spending time and energy cracking down on Twitter use in the same week that £1.3bn went missing from a bank that it should have been watching closely makes the FSA look like it has got its priorities all wrong.”

Jacksons Financial Services managing director Pete Matthew says: “Twitter should follow the same rules as any other form of financial promotion. Any fool who thinks they can push a product on Twitter deserves everything they get.”

An FSA spokesman says: “The FSA monitors advertising in all media and we contact firms if we see problems. We know that consumers use adverts to help them shop around so we insist that any financial promotions must be clear, fair and not misleading.”