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Ethics & Credibility in Business Communication

In: Business and Management

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Ethics of Facebook Study Questioned

COM/295

July 16, 2015

Ethics of Facebook Study Questioned

I have chosen a recent newsworthy that talks about a study being questioned on ethics of

Facebook in San Francisco. The company conducted an experiment using users’ posts in a

manipulated way. They gathered news feed posts from users and reposted them as a positive post

to one group and a negative post to another group. The purpose of doing that was to see how it

affect others responses. The company posted a blog stating how sorry they were on how the paper

was described and may have caused any anxiety to others. According to Abc7 News (2015), "I

don't think there's any way to overstate this -- you just simply do not play with people's emotions

without asking their permission first," said consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow (6). I believe there

should have been a better way of doing this research for the sake of all people and their feelings.

Facebook’s ethical obligation in their communications to the general public is to be truthful,

respect privacy, deception and the right to be informed. Facebook gives individuals the power to

share as part of their mission to make connections with others. However, Facebook has not yet

responded to the general public nor the researchers due to allegations being made. There is a

policy that states how information is collected and how it is used and shared. Due to the way

ethics of Facebook study was conducted, there was no effective communication in terms of

establishing credibility. Gajos (2014), “Although Facebook maintained this experiment was “for

science,” many users were shocked, outraged, and troubled as they realized the extent to which

Facebook owns their private information and how willing they are to use it.” (para. 1). I would

suggest the researchers to meet with the Facebook Company and come together to conduct an

interview. By conducting the interview to the general public and those affected will at least set

out apologies and state how they will avoid this happening again. People who listen attentively

and make thoughtful, informed comments are often seen as more credible than those who do not

listen well, or those who speak thoughtlessly. They can announce better privacy or better ways of

informing people before manipulating their posts and making it a bad situation. It is all about

finding effective ways to respect each other’s privacy and mainly for the company’s reputation.

References abc7 News. (2015). Retrieved from

http://abc7news.com/technology/ethics-of-facebook-study-questioned/149079/

Gajos, P. (2014). Facebook's Questionable choices: A Closer Look at Ethics in

Technology. Retrieved from

http://sourcebits.com/app-development-design-blog/article/facebooks-questionable-

choices-closer-look-ethics-technology/

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