Lax monitoring on the part of Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission has paved the way for a surge in rumour-mongering Facebook pages that are being used for manipulating the stock market by spreading various rumours and tips about stock prices and scrips, market operators said.
More than 1,000 rumour-mongering Facebook pages with huge number of followers are seen active in this connection and the number would increase sharply if any effective measure is not taken by the regulator, they said.
Of them, DSE Investors Club, a Facebook public group, has more than 82,000 members, while FB groups Bangladesh Stock Market Share Business has 40,911, DSE Club 35,000, DSE Profit Club 33,854, DSE Current Data Analysis News 23,163, and IPO Success Group have 20,195 members.
They said more and more people were joining these FB groups and seeking advices about profitable investment at the stock market, and the members were advising them with certainty that a particular scrip would go up or down, they said.
Earlier, on April 11, 2016, the BSEC took an initiative with sending a request letter to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to shut down a number of pages in the interest of the country’s capital market. But the issue is yet to be resolved as the telecom regulator said they cannot directly close those pages without the support of Facebook authority.
‘We are well aware about these rumour-mongering Facebook pages that were being used for influencing investors to purchase shares of different companies by providing false and baseless information that demands proper action,’ BSEC executive director Md Saifur Rahman told New Age.
‘The procedures to ban these pages are not that easy as we do not have any direct authority to close them, we must seek help from the Facebook authority,’ he said.
He also said that the commission was trying to find out people behind these pages and bring them to book.
‘The BSEC is very serious about preventing manipulative activities carried out in any form especially through the social media,’ he said.
A group of people motivate general investors to buy or sell a specific share for their own benefits with inveigling investors that prices of this or that scrip would increase to a particular level, an official of the commission said.
Former adviser to a caretaker administration Mirza Azizul Islam said that the commission and the two bourses should take initiative to keep investors away from these pages by informing them that these rumours could result in losses against their investments in the capital market.
According to the Section 17 of the Securities and Exchange Ordinance 1969, no person is allowed to induce, dissuade, effect, prevent or in any manner influence or turn to his or her advantage the sale or purchase of any security, directly or indirectly.
The special tribunal formed to deal with stock market-related cases on August 3 last year sentenced stock tipster Mahbub Sarwar to two years in jail for manipulating share prices during the 2007-10 period through Facebook. Sarwar used about 10 Facebook pages and blogs to spread tips about stock prices among a large number of investors during that period.
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