If you work at a hedge fund and perhaps do a bit of light insider trading to fund your daughter’s equestrian extracurriculars, you might want to be careful about what you’re posting on Facebook and Twitter these days. There are FBI agents charged with highlighting any evidence of wrongdoing you might let slip.
Poor bastards, they probably joined up thinking they’d get to be some combination of Fox Mulder and Seeley Booth.
Reuters reports that, “The FBI sees social media as a potential breeding ground for securities fraud, and has agents scouring Twitter and Facebook for tips.” That’s according to the agents in charge of “Operation Perfect Hedge,” charged with ferreting out insider trading in the hedge fund sector.
We wouldn’t be surprised to see at least one underling nailed for an ill-advised Facebook status. The history of insider trading is littered with guilty parties who should have been a bit more careful with their digital breadcrumbs, like the dude who Googled his likelihood of getting caught. Some overconfident jackass caught tweeting “Ballin’ hard after getting some sweet tips from my boy @materialnonpublic #killingit” would be the next logical step.
But it sounds like the agents are also looking for people using social media as a new way to trade tips. From Reuters:
“I will tell you technology will play a huge part, social media, Twitter. Any kind of technology that is new and doesn’t exist today, if there is any way to exploit it, these individuals will exploit it,” Brooks told Reuters TV in an interview for the Reuters Investment Outlook 2013 Summit.
Here’s a humdinger for you: How many retweets does it take to transform non-public information into something public?