SEBI to track BBM and WhatsApp user activity

With increase in usage of free messaging apps like WhatsApp and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), by manipulators to spread news about stock market, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is considering essential steps in order to regulate these mobile applications and check risks being posted by them.

Prior to this, SEBI in April announced that it is tracking various social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter for any stock market discussions. It has already got tools placed, along with IT exerts to analyse and monitor this. As reported by ET, SEBI has also issued guidelines to companies to disseminate their company’s information in order to regulate non-public material information.

Given the high public nature of social networks, which makes it easy to track information being transferred through them, monitoring social messaging apps like WhatsApp is comparatively difficult. These apps use internet server on smartphones which makes message transmission highly encoded and thus make it very complex for a third part to decode. This is very much the reason for stock manipulators to switch their platform from social networking sites to these highly anonymous and safe messaging apps.

In addition to that, an official said that SEBI is also finding it difficult to get information like Call Data Records from telecom companies. Also, it would not be easy for SEBI to get information on messages shared through these apps, reports Deccan Herald.

During last few months, SEBI has investigated a number of market manipulation cases and noticed that apps like BBM and WhatsApp are being used  to spread a word for influencing stocks markets. However, tracking activities on these platforms by SEBI will be a hard run.

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