Social Media to Social Media Analytics: Ethical Challenges

Social Media to Social Media Analytics: Ethical Challenges

Vikas Kumar (School of Business Studies, Sharda University, Noida, India) and Pooja Nanda (School of Business Studies, Sharda University, Greater Noida, India)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJT.2019070104
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With the amplification of social media platforms, the importance of social media analytics has exponentially increased for many brands and organizations across the world. Tracking and analyzing the social media data has been contributing as a success parameter for such organizations, however, the data is being poorly harnessed. Therefore, the ethical implications of social media analytics need to be identified and explored for both the organizations and targeted users of social media data. The present work is an exploratory study to identify the various techno-ethical concerns of social media engagement, as well as social media analytics. The impact of these concerns on the individuals, organizations, and society as a whole are discussed. Ethical engagement for the most common social media platforms has been outlined with a number of specific examples to understand the prominent techno-ethical concerns. Both the individual and organizational perspectives have been taken into account to identify the implications of social media analytics.
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1. Introduction

Social interaction through technology and internet-based tools have collectively given birth to the term “Social Media”. Wide reach and fast speed of communication are some of the important characteristics that make social media very different from other forms of communication (Kumar and Nanda, 2019). Interactivity is another important characteristic of social media, by which participants can freely send, receive, and process content for use by others. Services offered by the social media include: social networking, content production, video and photo sharing, chats and communities etc. People communicate on social media through social networking, which involves the use of websites or applications in order to interact with other people using the social networking sites (Osterrieder, 2013). These people may have same interests or may know each other through other groups or communities. There are plenty of features being offered by social networking sites, which include making profile, finding people with mutual interests, sharing with groups, interacting with people in groups and getting the information shared by other people. As cyberspace has vastly expanded, the part of our life that can be monitored and searched has also largely increased. This has led to a number of negative experiences by the individuals. As per 2017 statistics (Statista, 2017), adults in the age group of 18-29 years in United States, who are active on the social media, have experienced the following:

  • 75% adults have been offended by the posts, comments or pictures they have seen on social media.

  • 56% people’s links, comments or posts were seen by unintended people.

  • 21% got into trouble with school or work because of pictures posted online.

  • 20% lost a potential job opportunity because of the pictures posted online.

  • 48% bought something or spent money online, which they did not intend to.

Millions of people are using social media, sharing content and offering their opinions online. It is of no surprise that these tools have begun to pave their way into the professional working environment as well. Globalization, mobility and virtualization have become common trends, whereas the collaborating to make business decisions is on top priority for many companies. Social media is not just a marketing tool, but it has also given a new way for running a business effectively (Kumar and Pradhan, 2016). As an emerging phenomenon, social media provides a platform to disseminate information about the products and services offered by organizations (Kumar and Mittal, 2012). It also provides a platform for conversations and attending to the customer expectations or views. Organizations could utilize the potential of social media and connect through a common social media platform, where consumers and stakeholders can collaborate and make productive decisions (Naik, 2015). However, these social media platforms are highly crowded and very competitive. That is why, it becomes essential for organizations to test and track results in order to identify the most effective strategies based on social media.

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