Whether a third-party statement is a testimonial depends upon all of the facts and circumstances relating to the statement. The term “testimonial” is not defined in Rule 206(4)-1(a)(1), but SEC staff consistently interprets that term to include a statement of a client’s experience with, or endorsement of, an investment adviser. Therefore, depending on the facts and circumstances, the use of “social plug-ins” such as the “like” button could be a testimonial under the Advisers Act. Third-party use of the “like” feature on an investment adviser’s social media site could be deemed to be a testimonial if it is an explicit or implicit statement of a client’s or clients’ experience with an investment adviser or IAR. If, for example, the public is invited to “like” an IAR’s biography posted on a social media site, that election could be viewed as a type of testimonial prohibited by rule 206(4)1(a)(1).
Social Media & Testimonials
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