CFTC to Address Problems of Dealing with Evolving Technology Sphere

Despite the fact that The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has spent years working on plans to adapt to the technological revolution that is changing the investing sphere, the disconnect between the agency and technology was made evident after last week’s fake Associated Press (AP) tweet.

The tweet, which read, “BREAKING: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured,” was posted at around 1:07 p.m. ET and was retweeted by almost 1,500 Twitter users. By 1:10 p.m. ET, the Dow had fallen almost 0.1% on the day  after having been up 0.9% on the day just prior to the tweet, according to CNN.

The stocks fully recovered after investors realized that the tweet was made by hackers (a group named Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility for the post), but the government’s issues with keeping up with the ever-changing technological sphere was brought to light.

“Part of the problem is things keep changing,” CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton said in response to the evolving technology in the trading world, according to The Washington Post. “We were not focused on social media.”

On Monday, in response to the tweet, the CFTC added a half-hour discussion to an already scheduled Tuesday meeting, in which the regulatory body will meet with a group of traders, academics and other market participants with whom they discuss technology issues.

However, the fact that the discussion was scheduled in a last minute fashion, has many industry experts feeling that the CFTC is not nearly ready to take a stance on the social-media problem.

By comparison, the CFTC’s sister regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is more prepared to handle social media. The SEC said that companies can use social media to reveal market-sensitive information, provided that they tell investors where to find this data.

The CFTC aims to release their proposal for plans to deal with technology in June. In the meantime, both the CFTC and the SEC will be investigating the hacked tweet.


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