Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


Chelsea Peters


The Federal Trade Commission recently exposed Whole Foods’ CEO John Mackey for having made pseudonymous posts on financial message boards for over seven years. Mackey’s practice of “sock puppeting,” or posting under a false identity to praise and build support for one’s company, is becoming more common among high-powered corporate executives who have few other outlets in which to vent their frustrations and spar with their critics. In July, the SEC began an informal investigation into Mackey’s posts. This article examines the liabilities sock puppeteers may face under current securities regulations, particularly § 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Regulation Fair Disclosure (“FD”).

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