Netflix CEO Investigated for Facebook Post

Can businesses get in trouble with the government for sharing good news on social media? Maybe.


CNN Money explains…

In a Facebook posting on July 5, Hastings said that Netflix customers were viewing more than 1 billion hours of video content a month. Information that the company was approaching 1 billion hours had appeared on the company’s blog the month before. But in neither case did the company issue a formal press release or make a separate filing with the SEC disclosing the billion hour statistic.

The posting was widely reported and Netflix stock rose 13% the day of the posting.

On Thursday, Netflix disclosed in a new posting, an SEC filing and a news release that Hastings and the company received a Wells Notice from the SEC. The notice says the agency staff will recommend regulators institute a cease-and-desist proceeding and/or bring a civil injunctive action for violations of the agency’s fair disclosure rules.

Companies have to publicly disclose information that may have a “material” impact on shareholders. Hastings said in his new post, “posting to over 200,000 people is very public, especially because many of my subscribers are reporters and bloggers.”

Stacy Johnson

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