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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a report this week that clarifies how companies can use social media sites to announce material, nonpublic information. In layman's terms, that means companies can now use Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites to announce key company information which could affect investors and their stock purchase and sales decisions.The decision follows a similar report released in 2008 which clarified how company websites can be used to disseminate information that could affect investors and investment decisions.With the release of that report, companies were given permission to use their company websites to publish key information as long as investors were told in advance that such information could first appear on a company's website. In other words, as long as all investors had equal access to the information when it was made available to the public, releasing it on the company website became acceptable.With the release of the SEC's report this week, social media sites have been added to the mix. As long as investors are notified in advance that such information could now be published first via the company's social media profiles or pages, the company will be in compliance. If information is released via social media on a selective basis, giving some audiences or people earlier access to it than others, the company will not be in compliance. You can read the complete SEC report for all of the details.The SEC report's new social media permissions give investors, journalists, financial professionals, and many more audiences a greater reason than ever to follow company social media profiles very closely. Newstex already syndicates content from a large number of public company social media profiles and more are being added rapidly. That means Newstex content distributor partners can already provide this key information published via company social media accounts to their end-use customers.