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Opinion

Banking and social media: No Facetime?

The world’s leading banks have been grappling for a long time with the problem of how to use social media.

In a world of strict control of messaging, confidentiality and disclosure, the opportunities for bankers to communicate directly with the outside world are the stuff of a communication team’s nightmares.

But Morgan Stanley, famed for its abilities in new technology – you must have heard it did an IPO for some outfit called Facebook? – is venturing where others fear to tread.

It is allowing its 18,000 financial advisers in retail brokerage Morgan Stanley Smith Barney to tweet to their clients, having launched a trial run earlier this year. Strict guidelines are in place on what they can tweet about.

We had a look at their posts. For a bank aimed at US retail clients, there’s a remarkable amount of potted accounts of the latest dramas in the eurozone. That tells you something about how the euro contagion is spreading.

But there are two glaring omissions. One: why didn’t MSSB tweet the report by its own analysts saying that Facebook faced an earnings hit before the flotation on May 15?

And two: what, we have to ask, since the Facebook share price fell close to 30% after launch, is the bank’s policy on Facebook? In terms of its employees using the network we mean, of course.

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