Ethics in Social Media


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Ethics in Social Media

  1. 1. Current Ethical Cases in Social Media Journalism 676: Social Media & the News Prof. Sue Robinson Ryan Evans and Jenni Fields
  2. 2. Defining Social Media Ethics• Social media ethics is the practice of using correct conduct and good character while navigating social platforms. – This can be a gray area because social media and digital media in itself is gray.
  3. 3. Ethics & the Five Deadly Since of Social Media1. Unreported Endorsements2. Improper Anonymity3. Compromising Consumer Privacy4. Overly Enthusiastic Employees5. Using the Online Community to Get Free WorkAccording to article, “Ethics and the Five Deadly Sins of Social Media” by David Vinjamuri, published Nov. 3, 2011.
  4. 4. Social Media Ethics in the Workplace • Is it ethical to use social media in the workplace? – 42% of active social networkers (ASN) feel it’s acceptable to post both negative and positive workplace comments on social media. – Traditional companies are having a hard time adapting to this. – Many companies have placed social media restrictions into place, which is not allowing their employees to use platforms. • 42% of ASN felt pressure to compromise to these standards. – Sites like Yammer allow for internal communications on a social media sites.
  5. 5. Social Media Ethics in the Workplace• engagement/social-media-challenges-do-employees- tweet-your-values (click)• Advice for companies using social media: 7311.html (click)
  6. 6. Corporate Social Media Ethics• Companies need to develop a social media code of ethics to be tied in with the overall code of ethics.• This is important so the brand is represented consistently across all channels.• Implement social media terms and conditions. – For example, If you’re an alcohol brand, putting a disclaimer that you only allow followers who are over 21. (ex. @CoorsLight)
  7. 7. Five Steps to Social Media Ethics for Companies 1. Develop a code of ethics consistent with your company’s overall code of ethics. 2. Establish a lexicon of social media terms and tools. 3. Establish company’s SM profiles & accounts on the necessary SN sites. 4. Assign a team to review your SM policy. 5. Select & deploy company-wide version of your preferred SM monitoring tool.
  8. 8. Twitter Hacks!• The recent Twitter hacks of @BurgerKing and @Jeep lead to the @MTV and @BET accounts to be hacked also• …But it turned out to be a viral marketing scheme.
  9. 9. MTV’s Response• “Its a coordinated gag between the social team for MTV and our sister channel, BET. "Its all in the spirit of good fun.” • Kurt Patat, a vice president at MTV Networks • twitter-hacks_n_2719086.html
  10. 10. This “hack”had a mixed reception.
  11. 11. The Pros• MTV hack promoted sister station and BET event• Hashtag and attempts to get trending #MTVhack • twitter-hashtags.html• Mashable article said it was a risky move, but: “Some brands would need to worry about the repercussions against a fake hack. This, however, is MTV, a.k.a., the network that made PUNKd a hit TV series.” –
  12. 12. The Cons• “You have to say, its bad timing to do a publicity stunt when there are legitimate brand accounts being hacked," said Joe McCaffrey of marketing firm HUGE • jokes-on-twitter• Barry Waite, a public relations professional and professor at Centennial College, says it was a “juvenile” strategy • fake-hack-their-own-twitter-account/#.US0i0DA4srU
  13. 13. Things to ponder…• Due to the timelessness of the internet, this will never be forgotten – how does this affect the MTV brand?• There is a growing reliance on social media as news sources – what problems do companies attempting stunts like fake hacks reflect on reporters?• Twitter is worried because they are trying to protect their company as a legitimate platform – how does this reflect on Twitter? Should they take action or respond?
  14. 14. Anonymity on Social Media• New media allows for anonymity to be prominent.• This brings up questions of not only news sources, but also cyber-bullying, corporate ethcis, etc.• Also, it raises the questions of how anonymity works for brands vs. people. – Case study: Chik-Fil-A Sets up Fake FB Page – of-setting-up-fake-facebook-account/
  15. 15. Katy Culver vs. UW Confessions• Consider the recent Twitter spat between UW J-School professor Katy Culver and “The Creator” of the UW Confessions FB page and Twitter feed.• vs-katy-culver/slideshow• Discuss!• What are guidelines for anonymity on social media platforms?
  16. 16. Privacy Concerns• Consumer privacy: On a public platform, how much personal information should sites be required to keep private? – Does this bring in the ethical questions of targeted online advertising?
  17. 17. Case study: Privacy on Facebook• Your information on Facebook – including info that may be sensitive and potentially damaging – doesn’t require much special access to uncover.• For instance…
  18. 18. • 4.7 million “liked” a FB page about health conditions or treatments (details an insurer could use against you).• 4.8 million have used FB to post where they planned on going that day (burglar tip-off).• 20.4 million included birth date (identity thieves).• 39.3 million identified family members on their profile.• 900k discussed finances on their FB wall.• 1.6 million liked a page pertaining to racial or ethnic affiliations.• 2.3 million liked a page regarding sexual orientation.• 7.7 million liked a page pertaining to religious beliefs.• 2.6 million discussed alcohol use on their wall.• 4.6 million discussed their love lives on their wall.Stats from: r-reports-facebook-privacy-problems-are-rise-749990
  19. 19. Problems with the FB info we share…• Some don’t use privacy controls• FB collects more data than you may think• Your data is shared more widely than you may like/be aware of• Legal protections are spotty• And problems are on the rise
  20. 20. Some tips for FB privacy…• Think before you type• Regularly check your exposure• Review individual privacy settings• Know what you can’t protect• “UnPublic” your wall• Turn off tag suggest• Block apps and sites that snoop• Keep wall posts from friends• If all else fails, deactivate.
  21. 21. Angel Fraley vs. Facebook, Inc.• 2011 class action lawsuit in California against Facebook alleging misappropriation of users’ names and likenesses in “Sponsored Stories” ads.
  22. 22. Settlement• Facebook agreed to a deal which: – Mechanism for users to find out if they are appearing in Sponsored Stories ads. – Mechanism for users to prevent future appearances in Sponsored Stories. – Change in terms of use to inform users they can be used in SSs. – Gives parents control over whether their minor children can appear in ads at all. – Gives minors the ability to completely opt-out of all ads while they’re minors. – Allows affected users to file a claim that may result in an award of $10.
  23. 23. Did you get an e-mail?• On Jan. 2, 2013, FB began to send notices of the proposed settlement to approx. 125 million users (myself included).• If you appeared in a Sponsored Story on FB before Dec. 2012, you probably got an e-mail.
  24. 24. So, who owns your information?• The million dollar question for social media.• Do free sites like Facebook have the rights to the content and information that you share on their site? (They desperately want to so that they can make money).• One alternative is for SM sites like Facebook to charge for their services.• Would you pay to use FB to protect your privacy?• Discuss!
  25. 25. How else can we engage in media ethics?• UW Center for Journalism Ethics annual conference is on Friday, April 5 this year. – More info: – Theme: “Who is Shaping the News” – Keynote speaker: Lowell Bergman, investigative journalist specializing in the inner workings of mass media and their influences.