Reflecting on Topic 4


My comment on Tom’s blog echoed Elizabeth’s post on the ethics of advertising and the issue of consent. How far are we lying to our followers if we’re endorsed to promote a product? Is it ethical to put a well known public figure on a shampoo bottle in order to boost sales? Sam’s post also dealt with the issue of content and how plagiarizing content could lose you a great deal of income. This is something I hadn’t previously thought about, albeit something very true and current.The best way to deal with this, as outlined by Sam, was to report the person copying your content and investigation will be launched into them.


This Zuckerberg quote above highlights Anna-Clare’s post about the fact that we’re almost too scared to post anything without it offending someone in some way. Are employers out to get us? Can I say I hate a cheap sandwich? Will this lead to me being perceived as a mean spirited individual who is materialistic? Having said that, we can’t blame employers for not hiring candidates who are oblivious to their own controversial comments and inappropriate photos. It really does take two seconds for an employer to look you up online as I discussed in my comments to Sam.

Abby’s powtoon presentation however focused on the ethics of social media in Education, something which I hadn’t quite reflected on prior to reading her blog. Her PiktoChart diagram equally drew up big conclusions: the issue of cyber bullying, harassment and phishing – something that isn’t necessarily as directly linked as in the ethics of social media in business.

quote-Andy-Grove-privacy-is-one-of-the-biggest-problems-183691_1Michele summed it up well. Regardless of freedom of speech, of personal opinions and beliefs, our digital footprint is well marked with a simple Google search. Respect your company’s values and your own can go a long way into avoiding getting you into any trouble. Keep your LinkedIn professional, keep your Facebook private. Sense and Sensibility have more of an influence than you may think. It’s a shame we seem to have lost so much privacy over the years, which explains the growing popularity in anonymous users as we saw in Topic 2.


Personal privacy is definitely something that needs to be tightened more than ever. To quote George Clooney:

I don’t like to share my personal life… it wouldn’t be personal if I shared it.

I do feel like there is a certain breach of privacy if, for example, an employer brings up some of my social media content in an interview. However, I feel like in our modern day society, we are fully aware of the repercussions of inappropriate content and its affect on our professionalism. Everyone has an opinion, a personality and a character that defines them, it just depends on how and which social media account they choose to best represent themselves on.


Topic 4 – Social Media Ethics

First and foremost, what is the definition of ethics? Let’s take a look at what the trusted Oxford Dictionary says:

ethics definition

Glenn Greenwald’s TED talk gives us various arguments in favour of online privacy. Two arguments that he outlines were that of Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Eric Shmidt (there’s a 30 second clip below where he reiterates his stand on the subject). They both are in favour of full online transparency with Schmidt emphasizing that what you post online is a reflection of who you are i.e. “good” people have nothing to hide should they be “exposed”.

Firstly, while Greenwald seems to think that by putting any potential hazardous online activity under the microscope may aid in stopping terrorism, there is a knock-back effect on journalists and activists who aim to fight, leading us all to suffer. Privacy is a basic human right and what we post doesn’t necessarily equal a good or bad person.

I disagree with Eric Schmidt that those who fear transparency, “have something to hide”. We saw this in Topic 2 and Topic 3 where some choose to keep their social and professional profiles apart intentionally for “personal branding”. However, his opinion is this New York Times article reiterates his stand on “filtering” content:

We should build tools to help de-escalate tensions on social media — sort of like spell-checkers, but for hate and harassment. We should target social accounts for terrorist groups like the Islamic State, and remove videos before they spread, or help those countering terrorist messages to find their voice. Without this type of leadership from government, from citizens, from tech companies, the Internet could become a vehicle for further dis-aggregation of poorly built societies, and the empowerment of the wrong people, and the wrong voices.

Zuckerberg takes a different stand. He believes that  a lack of privacy has become the “social norm” and that the rise of social media and blogging has evolved people’s attitudes since the beginning of Facebook’s creation.

In 2013, Ikea spent $654,170 on private investigators to spy on employees. This resulted in Virginie Paulin getting fired for not being sick enough to warrant a year’s medical leave.

Here is my video on the ethics of using social media in business:

There is yes or no answer to the debate on social media ethics. What needs to be established is where the boundaries lie and how comfortable one would feel working in a environment that favours transparency over privacy.



Schmidt, E. How to Build a Better Web The New York Times (2015).

Accessed 18/04/2016.

Litty, M. 6 Ways Your Employer Can Legally Spy On You (2014)

Accessed 18/04/2016.

Greenwald, G. Why Privacy Matters (2014) TEDtalks.

Viewed 18/04/2016.