C-Suite executives may now have to be accustomed to a new form of adverse publicity to deal with in their crisis management planning – someone making publically available an SEC whistleblower submission and publicizing the same by blast emails and a press campaign.
In this case, a whistleblower supported by the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) has filed a whistleblower tip with the SEC alleging that Facebook is likely violating securities laws that prohibit publicly-traded companies from misleading shareholders and the public. The anonymous whistleblower’s petition includes what is described by the NWC as a 5-month study of over 3,000 Facebook users expressing support for terrorist organizations.
I assume the whistleblowers convictions are genuinely held, but this looks like a publicity stunt. It’s not illegal, but still a publicity stunt.
Add this to the list of those who want to use the SEC’s communications facilities to grind an ax. First it was activist investors publishing their manifestos as exhibits to Schedule 13Ds. Then shareholder proponents began publishing epistles on their shareholder proposals using notices of exempt solicitation. And now this. If you can’t think of anything else, file a petition for rulemaking and maybe the SEC will post it on their web site.
The NWC claims it is the nation’s leading nonprofit focused on protecting whistleblowers and advocating for laws that encourage and reward their assistance with fighting corruption and other wrongdoing. In addition to assisting with the matter involving Facebook and terror and hate content, NWC claims it is providing support to anonymous whistleblowers that have exposed extensive illegal trafficking of endangered wildlife and stolen antiquities on Facebook and other social media websites.