Ethics of Social Media
For the last one decade, the Congress has been quite active in passing laws that aimed at preventing investors from unethical behaviors and proposing the standard behaviors that businesses should adopt. The demand for disclosure through legislative bodies has been accompanied by the demand for accountability, which is pushed by the public. However, the social media explosion has elicited mixed reactions concerning disclosure and accountability of business operations. To defend against social media explosion, many companies have endeavored to adopt new policies that would guide on ethical behaviors. Individuals have to be keen on how they utilize social media to avoid unethical behaviors that can destroy their reputation, as well as the reputation of others in the workplaces and the entire community.
Social media explosion has really transformed the way businesses have been communicating with the public, as well as their employees. In the article “The Ethics of Social Media – Part I: Adjusting to a 24/7 World,” Hyatt (n.d) has claimed that social media has brought new dilemma concerning communication within the workplace, leading to numerous litigations and fines. Most employees in private companies have faced various forms of disciplines for using social media inappropriately. Some have already invested heavily on technology that could delete undesirable information that may destroy the company’s reputation. Doctors have also raised the issue of loss of patients’ privacy through social media. To avoid the uncertainty between workers and employers, drafting of a social media policy is paramount. Such policy can assist in maintaining the status of a company, in addition to preventing employees from being harassed by business owners.
Personally, I agree on Hyatt’s article that social media has brought dilemma in the workplace, leading to loss of confidentiality and numerous court cases. Although social media has helped companies to adopt ethical behavior while dealing with clients and employees, some employees have utilized the platform to tarnish their employers’ reputation. Companies are apprehensive of ex-employees who may post confidential information on social networking sites, leading to negative publicity or litigation (Flynn, 2012). Thus, companies should establish social media policy to guide on social media use within the workplace.
Hyatt’s article has touched on my life because I normally utilize social media to express anything that I find unethical in public places. According to Hyatt (n.d), an employee can post a blameless comment to express personal opinion, but ends up in the courts for alleged defamation. Social media has become the most popular form of communication among students, workmates, and friends, as nothing worth noting can happen without being posted in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram. I am also aware that employers are utilizing social media to judge the potential candidates during recruitment; hence, I have to be very attentive on what I post online to avoid rejection by employers in the future.
The rapid use of social media in the workplace has attracted mixed reactions from workers and their employers. While employee needs have been enhanced through social media, employers are anxious that some employees might expose confidential information to the public. Instituting a social media policy is vital for business entities, even when most of the practices have already been addressed through company policies and regulations. Having specific guidelines on social media can assist in enhancing ethics in organizations, in addition to preventing personal and business information from online criminals. However, such policies should not be too strict to the employee, as they may breed insurgence.
Flynn, N. (2012). The Social Media Handbook: Rules, Policies, and Best Practices to Successfully Manage Your Organization’s Social Media Presence, Posts, and Potential. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
Hyatt, J. (n.d). The Ethics of Social Media – Part I: Adjusting to a 24/7 World, 104-109.