Topic 4-Reflection

This week I considered ethical issues faced by both employers and employees when using social media in relation to social media content. For employees, unethical social media use was recognised primarily through exposing confidentiality via social media posts. Whereas, for employers, immoral actions were recognised by unfair dismissal of employees due to innocent social media posts. This presented a moral dilemma as I considered at what point the unethical behavior moves from employee to employer, but suggested that work-related issues should be discussed with occupational superiors before discussing them on social media.

The openness of topics 4 allowed many different areas to be explored by other blog users, presenting a wide array of areas for discussion. Ausaf and Scott both presented similar themes when commenting on my blog, suggesting that through self-regulation of online content, in order to preserve our professional livelihood, we may in fact be becoming inauthentic online. I suggested to both Ausaf and Scott that much like in our day-to-day lives we must have control over our actions and adaptability to different people and environments, just as we do online. Therefore, it is not deceptive to use multiple identities, it instead allows a safe place for free expression without scrutiny.

Patricia’s blog individually stood out to me due its unique take on ethical social media use. Patricia highlighted that ways in which business promotions attempt to deceive users through social media endorsements for products that fail to meet expectation. This sparked my interest as I believed that this was no new phenomenon and had been taken on by traditional advertisers for a number of years (e.g. via television adverts). Having suggested this to Patricia, she presented an understanding that social media endorsements are more unethical than typical media forms because social media advertising is both targeted to user tastes, creating a greater desire for products. While, due to the two-way interactivity of social media endorsements, users may be less aware of attempted misleading by promotions online.

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word count: 328

Image reference: self-made using Piktochart

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Topic 4- Ethical issues for business social media use

Ethical issues concern the conduct of moral principles developed by behaving in a correct and honest way. This week, I will discuss the ways in which unethical misuse of social media by business employees may negatively damage business reputation, while also addressing how misinterpretation of social media content by such employees may lead to unjustified job losses.

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Image 1

On one hand, it appears that employees exposing business confidentially on social media is entirely unethical. For example, a Lacoste employee lost his job after he posted a picture of his pay-check on Instagram to show his frustration at his low wage compared to the high costs of living. Johnson (2016) states that as a representative of a company it is within the moral duty of employees to promote the reputation of the business, rather than tarnish it. The same applies to employees that speak negatively of their employers on social media, subsequently damaging the business name and often leading to justified dismissal of employees from the company ( Rapacon, 2016).

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Image 2- created by David Alderman

However, there is a case that social media platforms give a voice to less powerful individuals and it is through such systems that waves of support can form and change can result (Guardian, 2014). Therefore, by employees displaying genuine negative comments on social media they may simply be voicing a true and free opinion that would otherwise be unheard.

Greenwald (2014) makes the point that social media behaves as a tool for “Mass indisrciminent surveillance” that removes individual privacy, making social media less a tool of expression, but rather a site of constant monitoring. This suggest that despite the freedom employed by social media platforms, due to risk of job loss, negative company comments (even if meant harmlessly), should not be displayed on public sites, particularly due to the ease of misinterpretation on social media as seen with the Justine Sacco case.

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Image 3- Created by David Alderman

 

The TED Talk  below emphasises how misinterpretation and the publicity of social media can have detrimental effects.

Ethical considerations concerning freedom of the speech on social media by employers seems to raise a moral dilemma. It seems easy to say that negative posts on social media by company representatives are always unethical. This is particularly true when the reasons for expression for the negativities is not considered such as, employee mistreatment, freedom of speech, or simply a comment made jokingly that was misinterpreted.

Personally, I feel that employees shouldn’t discuss work-related topics on social media. Issues regarding work satisfaction should be addressed formally with company managers instead. From this consideration, I can also recognise the importance of multiple identities as discussed from topic 2.

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References

Greenwald. G (2014), TED TALK, why privacy matters

Johnson. T (2016) How social media can damage company reputation

Rapacon. S (2016) CNBC, How social media can get you fired

Ronson. J (2015) how one stupid tweet blew up Justine Sacco’s life

Ronson. J (2015) TED TALK, how one tweet can ruin your life

The Guardian (2014) Twitter abuse: easy on the messenger editorial

Williams. V (2015) 8 insane social media posts that got people fired

Image references

Image 1 – Dilbert daily strip (2014)

Image 2- self-made using Piktochart

Image 3- self-made using Piktochart