Ethical Considerations in Utilizing Social Media

Legal Compliance Resource
March 12, 2013 — 902 views  

Information gathering has surely advanced drastically over the past 15 years. This has completely revolutionized the way in which every business conducts itself and interacts with its customers. Information gathering has also been simplified to a great extent because of the vast network, and social media plays a very important role in rendering this. Instant interaction that has been made possible through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is dramatic for sure.

Creating Social Media Awareness

Even as the benefits of social media networking collectively weigh higher, the ethical responsibility towards the public content that gets posted every second is very poor. This brings down the image of the positive role played by social media.

To set this right immediately, the organizations and more importantly, individuals, would have to develop ethical policies that would take care of the ethics that need to be adhered to while using the social media.

A wrong unintentional post at the wrong place and at the wrong time could lead to grave effects. To combat the worsening situation, proper guidelines and training on social media ethics, fraud and conduct would have to be conducted by each organization. This will make the employees more aware of the consequences of incorrect usage of social media networking.

As per the guidelines, the training should emphasize on:

  • An awareness program bringing about the risks involved with wrong behavior on the social network front.
  • Exploring the various types of self-disclosures that are mainly associated with the involvement in social media networking.
  • Exploring the principles for maintaining the boundaries, both personally and professionally, as a part of social media networking.
  • Reviewing the privacy settings options available in social media websites for maintaining these boundaries.

When to and When not to use Social Networking

Here are a few considerations while using social media sites:

  • Determine and analyze if the online post or comment is right for you to make personally and professionally.
  • Determine if the post or comment has any added benefit to you personally and professionally.
  • Closely monitor the risks and challenges the post or comment could cause to your personal and professional relationships. 

Some ethical issues associated with social media networking:

Maintaining the Privacy of the Client- Every client has the right to control and monitor the information that is being shared on a social networking site against them. This includes the type and amount of information, the timing at which the information was shared, and the source of the information. The client has every right to sue anything inappropriate on social networking sites.

Confidentiality: Giving away irrelevant information on social networking sites, like Facebook or Twitter, is also a way of tampering with the client’s confidentiality.

So always keep in mind that the Internet is a public page and social media is one way in which this information can be broadcasted over a large area. Anything bad disclosed here could have adverse effects.

Legal Compliance Resource