How to Make $1 Million in Thirty Seconds or Less: The Need for Regulations on Finfluencers

77 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2023 Last revised: 24 Feb 2024

See all articles by Tamra Manfredo

Tamra Manfredo

Louisiana State University, Paul M. Hebert Law Center

Date Written: December 15, 2022

Abstract

TikTok is rapidly becoming GenZ’s search engine of choice, as many young viewers prefer TikTok over Google or other platforms when seeking out information, including financial information. On TikTok, many financial influencers, or finfluencers, are earnestly helping to educate Millennial and GenZ investors, who typically have relatively low financial literacy levels. However, many other finfluencers are dangerously spreading misleading financial information that could harm these vulnerable investors. Finfluencers who work for a regulated financial company or are hired by such a company for social media content can be punished for errant social media conduct by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). However, finfluencers who do not fall into these categories can create misleading content with no consequences. By adapting current SEC, FINRA, and FTC rules, this article proposes a new regulation to cover all finfluencers that would require finfluencers to (1) disclose their qualifications for providing financial advice, (2) disclose any conflicts of interest, and (3) state that their content is not a replacement for individualized financial advice. This article also discusses the First Amendment free speech implications of such a regulation.

Keywords: finfluencers, financial influencers, TikTok, social media, regulation, financial advice, financial literacy, parasocial relationship, trust, retail investors, SEC, FINRA, CFPB, FTC, investment professionals, ASIC, First Amendment, free speech, strict scrutiny, professional speech doctrine

JEL Classification: K2, K20, K22, K23

Suggested Citation

Manfredo, Tamra, How to Make $1 Million in Thirty Seconds or Less: The Need for Regulations on Finfluencers (December 15, 2022). Louisiana Law Review, Vol. 84, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4398463 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4398463

Tamra Manfredo (Contact Author)

Louisiana State University, Paul M. Hebert Law Center ( email )

Baton Rouge, LA
United States

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