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Companies can tweet news, SEC says

WASHINGTON — The Securities­ and Exchange Commission will allow public companies to make significant announcements­ on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites — provided they alert investors which sites they intend to use.

The decision allows companies to use social media in place of more formal websites. An SEC rule requires that all investors receive significant company information at the same time.

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Companies should alert investors­ in news releases or regulatory filings that they are going to use specific social media to disseminate information that could affect the price of the company’s stock, the SEC said.

The question arose after Netflix Inc.’s chief executive, Reed Hastings, said on his Facebook page that monthly online viewing by customers had exceeded 1 billion for the first time.

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