Messaging Apps Come Under Increasing Regulatory Scrutiny

As enforcement actions increase, the intensifying spotlight on WhatsApp and other ubiquitous mobile texting software is prompting many companies to actively seek legal guidance and make compliance and technology changes, while some in the lesser regulated space may be taking more of a “wait-and-see” approach. Already this year, the SEC, FINRA and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have lodged enforcement actions against companies over improper use of off-channel messaging apps. Also, the DOJ issued updated guidance in March on its expectations for compliance programs, including a warning that all companies facing investigations are expected to have policies and procedures around usage. With insights from partners at Ballard Spahr and Paul Hastings, we discuss the regulators’ focus and enforcement proceedings targeting messaging apps, compliance challenges and practical risk mitigation tips. See “Electronic Communications, Cooperation Standards and Other Emerging Trends in the SEC’s Oversight of Private Funds” (Jan. 18, 2023).

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