A targeted examination letter from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has turned up the heat on firms using social media.

The letter, which went out to an undisclosed number of firms this month, makes six requests ranging in scope from a general explanation of social media use to the names and Central Registration Depository numbers of the top 20 producing advisors using social media. As the first broad "sweep" done on social media, it illustrates that FINRA will be holding firms to a higher standard of compliance in this relatively new communication channel, said Jimmy Douglas, director of alliances and industry relations Smarsh, a software company that helps around 20,000 clients in financial services and heavily regulated industries monitor and record their online presence.

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