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Privacy, Ethics, Legal Implications of Social Media

September 10, 2013

Ask any regular social media user and they will tell you that security and privacy online is a growing issue. This question of privacy, legal implications, and ethics involved in social media affects not just large company networks, but also the every-day user. Users, large and small, need to be aware of the power of their online behaviors and the implications mis-used social media capabilities.   


This first article from Forbes Magazine online outlines several general perils of customer-business social media interactions. These “Ethics and Five Deadly Sins of Social Media” “Ethics and Five Deadly Sins of Social Media” from the business’s perspectives include aspects like companies paying bloggers to write positive reviews of products or services, a major concern for consumers. Another issue for companies working with ethics and legal practices online is guarding consumer information. The article outlines how companies can lose customer’s trust and revenue when their customer database is hacked and personal information is disclose. Personally, this is a major concern of mine when shopping online. I often find myself searching for the lowest price of an item online, but sometimes I don’t end up buying the item because the seller does not seem to have a secure webpage. 


More recently, social media users (myself included) have become concerned with their legal rights online. Some of my questions include inquiry about how my information provided by the user is used by the site, who is monitoring my social media use (if anybody cares enough to monitor me at all), and what potential employers judge job candidates based on social media data. I just know that many users find themselves clicking “Agree To All Terms and Conditions” buttons in order to use and update things like iTunes and Facebook. Kevin Fayle outlines how ”Understanding the Legal Issues for Social Networking Sites and Their Users” has a real impact on users. The article deals a lot with the legality of under age users creating pages that require parental consent, intellectual property right infringement, and how state laws differ widely over social media legality. The article sites a number of other legal issues from varying states such as sex offender IM and e-mail registration requirements, detrimental fraudulent pages for people, and mis-use of personal information. 


The third link for this blog assignment has to do with ”Ethics in Social Media” ethics in social media. To me, ethics is something that is subjective and varies from person to person. This is the same online. Some people are very respectable social media users, while others use their online voice to harass and bully others. The article highlights ethics from a point of view of online journalists who should ethically seek the truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently, etc. The aim for ethics online is transparency for the the users. Postings are instant and permeant, just as in real life so one should be conscious of their online footprint at all times.


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