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Social Media Ethics and Law in Higher Education

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Social media is redefining the relationships between organizations and their audiences, and it introduces new ethical, privacy, and legal issues. As an organization, an employee and an individual user, we need to have a better understanding of the ethics, and also the law, as it applies in these new contexts. Pre-existing media law about copyright and fair use was not written with social media in mind, so changes and interpretations are necessary.

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Social Media Ethics and Law in Higher Education

  1. 1. Social Media Ethics & Law in Higher Education Ken Ronkowitz
  2. 2. 2
  3. 3. After the invention of blogging, social media began to explode in popularity. Sites like MySpace and LinkedIn gained prominence in the early 2000s, and sites like Photobucket and Flickr facilitated online photo sharing. YouTube came out in 2005, creating an entirely new way for people to communicate and share with each other across great distances. By 2006, Facebook and Twitter both became available to users throughout the world.
  4. 4. COMMERCIAL USES OF SOCIAL MEDIA Crisis, Support, Product, Sales, PR, Community
  5. 5. Commercial  Educational Uses of Social Media 1. Crisis – crime, accidents, shootings 2. Support – weather closings, transit, deadlines 3. PR – rankings, awards, publications 4. Community – events, sports 5. Product & Sales – admissions, new programs
  6. 6. Extensive listing by groups socialmedia.princeton.edu/accounts
  7. 7. The “Dark Web” of Social Media The SM that you don’t create or control • Reviews & comments on Glassdoor, Monster, LinkedIn, The Ladder and other job and professional sites about working conditions, salaries, interview questions… • And content on Facebook, Instagram, Rate My Professor, Blog posts, videos… • Reviews of your institution By students: Niche, CollegeTimes, StudentReview, Unigo, College Confidential and By publications: US News, WSJ, Princeton Review, Forbes
  8. 8. Ethics & Law Ethos is the character or fundamental values of a person, people, culture, or movement Ethics is a set of principles of right and wrong behavior guiding, or representative of, a specific culture, society, group, or individual. Laws are the rules and standards issued by a government, or to be applied by courts and similar authorities. Where do they meet? Law Ethics
  9. 9. It may be legal to auto-subscribe all the members of your alumni email database to your new newsletter, but is it ethical?
  10. 10. 10 And Social Media Is Also About •Disclosure •Transparency •Authenticity •Trust
  11. 11. “Ethics is what you do when no one is looking.” – George Bernard Shaw “How can you assure anonymity for a political dissident or corporate whistle-blower without also offering cover for a terrorist? How can you distinguish algorithmically between a nude photo that’s revenge porn, and a nude photo that’s a work of art? There’s no way for a machine to make these judgments, and no one has enough money to hire human beings to make these judgments. - Aram Sinnreich, social media ethicist at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2015/0531/Can-tweeters-be-tamed-video
  12. 12. http://www.workplaceethicsadvice.com/2012/01/the-ethics-of-users-of- social-networking-sites-while-at-work.html
  13. 13. One example…
  14. 14. ORIGINAL COPYRIGHT PUBLIC DOMAIN FAIR USE CREATIVE COMMONS 
  15. 15. search.creativecommons.org
  16. 16. LAW
  17. 17. Do you read the Terms of Service before you “agree” with it? Liability for Google Services WHEN PERMITTED BY LAW, GOOGLE, AND GOOGLE’S SUPPLIERS AND DISTRIBUTORS, WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR LOST PROFITS, REVENUES, OR DATA, FINANCIAL LOSSES OR INDIRECT, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES. TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, THE TOTAL LIABILITY OF GOOGLE, AND ITS SUPPLIERS AND DISTRIBUTORS, FOR ANY CLAIMS UNDER THESE TERMS, INCLUDING FOR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES, IS LIMITED TO THE AMOUNT YOU PAID US TO USE THE SERVICES (OR, IF WE CHOOSE, TO SUPPLYING YOU THE SERVICES AGAIN). https://www.google.com/policies/terms/
  18. 18. Facebook respects the IP rights of others and is committed to helping 3rd protect their rights. Our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities prohibits users from posting content that violates another party's IP…You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition: For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it. If we remove your content for infringing someone else's copyright, and you believe we removed it by mistake, we will provide you with an opportunity to appeal. If you repeatedly infringe other people's intellectual property rights, we will disable your account when appropriate.
  19. 19. TWITTER Respects the INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS of others and expects users of the Services to do the same. We will respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement that comply with applicable law and are properly provided to us… We reserve the right to remove Content alleged to be infringing without prior notice, at our sole discretion, and without liability to you. In appropriate circumstances, Twitter will also terminate a user’s account if the user is determined to be a repeat infringer. You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).
  20. 20. What your lawyers will say COMPLIANCE 1. Using social media without violating Federal, State and local laws 2. Using social media without comprising information security 3. Using social media without infringing on intellectual property rights copyright free speech rights anti-discrimination online sexual harassment.
  21. 21. What your lawyers will say ACTION 1. Have ways to deal with harassment and disparagement issues 2. How are we protecting confidential information and privacy? 3. How do we deal with copyright and IP abuse? Decision trees
  22. 22. Local “Law”
  23. 23. Do you have a social media policy? Who has read it?
  24. 24. Policies In Place at NJIT
  25. 25. EMPLOYER / EMPLOYEE PRIVACY - example • Is it legal for employers to require their employees to provide login/passwords for access to personal SM accounts? • In 2013, New Jersey became the twelfth state to enact social media password protection legislation, imposing some restrictions on employer access to the restricted, personal social media content of applicants and employees. https://www.littler.com/new-jersey-becomes-twelfth-state-enact-social-media-password-protection-legislation-recent-amendment The new law was enacted after Governor Christie vetoed an earlier bill, which he characterized as "too broad." According to Governor Christie, the earlier bill was so broad that "an employer interviewing a candidate would be prohibited from asking about the candidate's use of social networking to gauge the candidate's technological skills and media savvy." In addition, the bill would "subject an employer to protracted litigation, compensatory damages, and attorneys' fees.” While the new law adopts all of Governor Christie’s proposed changes, it still broadly restricts employer access to the social media content of applicants and employees.
  26. 26. To the future… AI and the Internet of Things gathering data automatically and “anonymously” Facebook Pushes Back Against Report of Housing Ads Targeted by Race http://adage.com/article/digital/facebook-ads-target-exclude-groups-race/306531/
  27. 27. ACTION ITEMS • Have up-to-date policies in place and • train staff (incl. student workers), faculty and students • about SM ethics codes & case studies (ex: images) • and ethical social networking conduct, and also • their personal privacy & social media rights. • 70% of Employers Take Disciplinary Action for Social Media Misuse
  28. 28. Ken Ronkowitz @ronkowitz slideshare.net/ronko4 serendipity35.net ronkowitz@njit.edu ronkowitz.com

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