Credits: Stephanie Mcmillan
There are so many ethical issues out there regarding social media. Many of them come from the ignorance of the people using social media itself – us. How often do we really consider the consequences of what happens after we press the share button?
The internet live stats website actually has a live counter that shows us the total number of internet users in the world (currently at about 3 billion) and how it is still constantly increasing by the minute. You can thus imagine the number of posts, tweets, videos and status updates that are going to the internet every single day! Youtube (2014) states that about 100 hours of videos are uploaded onto Youtube every minute!
I remember a conversation with a good friend of mine when we were discussing about the ethics of using the web in class. We agreed that people often underestimate the power of the share button on the internet. We might have only 100 followers, but that can very much change overnight the moment we post something impactful! She specificially stated “The internet is like a medicinal drug, it can be used to help us but at the same time can go terribly wrong if we abuse it.”
The story shared by professor Lisa on the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet was a good example of how ethical issues on social media can actually cause not only a bad image of ourselves but also indirectly affect our company’s image. Even in a private account, anyone can easily spread what you said.
I personally feel that as future businessmen and women and *winks* marketers, it is important for us to know the ethical issues out there facing our industry. The most impactful ethical issue to me is the problem of misrepresentation.
As buyers of products, how many times have we bumped into a particular product which was not what it claimed to be? A “brand new” shirt which has holes in it, A “non-stick pan” which sticks like crazy or even a product which says “Lose 2 inches off your belly in just 1 week!” but ended up seeing no effects. The problem of misrepresentation and why it is significant to me is because I feel that it is unfair for buyers to be spending their money on “misrepresented” products. As companies or marketers, we should always only promise what we can give. Gaining trust is of utmost importance and we do not wish to come off as “fake” or just a sham. A good example would be New Balance, who was sought out for compensation of $5million after a shoe that they claimed to help burn calories was found out to have no boosted health benefits. Can we really still believe anything that we see on social media nowadays?
Credits: via Daily Mail UK
Bottomline: Be ethical with all your actions, think far ahead of who possibly will be impacted because of your post.
Internet Live Stats. 2014. Number of Internet Users (2014) – Internet Live Stats [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users/. [Accessed 05 December 2014].
YouTube . 2014. Statistics – YouTube . [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html. [Accessed 05 December 2014].
BuzzFeed News. 2014. This Is How A Woman’s Offensive Tweet Became The World’s Top Story – BuzzFeed News. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.buzzfeed.com/alisonvingiano/this-is-how-a-womans-offensive-tweet-became-the-worlds-top-s. [Accessed 05 December 2014].
Business Insider. 2014. 14 False Advertising Scandals That Cost Brands Millions – Business Insider. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/false-advertising-scandals-2011-9?IR=T&op=1. [Accessed 05 December 2014].