Ethical Issues With the Use of Social Media in the Connected Business World

Ethical Issues With the Use of Social Media in the Connected Business World

Ali Shafiq (Taylor's University, Malaysia)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9697-4.ch017
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With the dawn of social media, the world of communication and interaction changed tremendously. It transformed altogether many other aspects of life – businesses, education, philanthropy, to name a few. However, with a phenomenon of such grand proportions came the associated problems of comparable stature. This chapter deals with some of the most compelling problems which social media brought. It highlights how these problems occur, their consequences, and what should be done to minimize the effects. It is hoped that after reading this chapter the users of social media will exercise caution; the practitioners will play a more responsible role while the theorists will be able to propose novel but practical solutions to these problems.
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Privacy is one of the most obvious and often the least bothered about concern when using social media. While any website, mobile app, social media website, or any other online media does ask your permission (before performing an action) but how often we have seriously read whatever is written inside the permission agreement! The users typically agree to everything that is said in it as a result of the blind trust that they put into the service provider (Berreby, 2017). Often this blind agreement is also made because we just don’t understand all the terminologies and the language used in the agreement and perhaps don’t have the luxury of time to decipher what that alien language means. The result is often a (perceived) ‘breach’ of privacy where users’ personal and usage data is gathered by the service provider and used for various purposes (Berreby, 2017). History has given many examples of such breach of privacy, Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal being the worst and most severe of them.

Similar to such privacy issues is the conscious and deliberate divulgence of personal information over these social media which might lead to intrusion and other more severe privacy issues. Sharing on social media is so exciting that it becomes almost impossible to resist sharing personal information on it (Steinberg, 2017). The extent of this sharing, obviously, depends on the users – some are more open to share than others. Though it might sound like innocent fun, yet in many cases such exposure of one’s personal life leads to falling that data in wrong hands which might lead to bullying, stalking, and other crimes (Kleinberg, 2015). This risk is increased multiple times if this information is shared in the purview of a meme or hashtag which ultimately becomes a ‘trend’.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Appalachia: A geographic and cultural region of the Mideastern United States. The population in media is portrayed as suspicious, backward, and isolated.

Word-of-Mouth: The general discussion about someone or something. This discussion can be in favor, against, or can be mixed, and it gives the listeners/readers a general opinion about the subject of discussion which is majorly based on the polarity of the discussion.

Retweet: Reposting a content on the Twitter. Initially a user Tweets content. If someone shares the same contents it is called retweet.

Like: Social Media has the option of “liking” or “disliking” a content being shared. This is expressed via a small icon made available with the content and can take many forms (thumbs-up or down, emoji, etc.). The number of likes or dislikes or any other similar emotion denotes how general public has reacted to the contents.

Bullying: An intentional action intending to harm, intimidate, or coerce someone who is perceived as weak or vulnerable. Although originating in the physical world, it has creeped into the cyber world too, termed as cyber-bullying.

Stickiness: It is the quality of a website or social media which makes the viewers stay longer on it. It has benefit for the website/social media owner as it helps generate revenue.

Profile: Just like in our daily lives, our social media also carries our personal details, like our sex, birth date, interests, life goals, etc. This information constitutes our profile. It can be public for others to view or set private. This introduces us to others.

Viral: A piece of information (image, audio/video, message, or any other content) that has been rapidly shared across the internet. Viral content is typically shared among hundreds of thousands of people in a very short amount of time.

Stalking: The unwanted and often repeated surveillance of someone by another person or group. This is often a common phenomenon on social media where people scroll through a person’s profile/activity log to get more information.

Hashtag: Denoted by #, it is used immediately before a word or a phrase to identify a specific topic on social media.

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