On the Gatorade Website, https://www.gatorade.com/about-our-ads at the bottom of the page there is a link to “About Our Ads”. Gatorade exposes how they get their customer information by tracking then advertising to consumers. Most companies are tracking anyone who visits a website with cookies, then selling information and email lists. These actions are legal, but are they ethical? How about how Gatorade? They discuss their process in detail. Does this make it more Ethical?
In 2014, USA Today published an article titled “Social Media Research Raises Privacy and Ethics Issues”.
Discussing how social media and Facebook in general are behavioral laboratories with endless sources of information on consumers. Most of the information is free or companies are paying third parties to collect the information for them. For Example, Gatorade states specifically in their website, “We work with third parties who help gather this information. These third parties might link your name or email address to other information they collect. That might include past purchases made offline or online. Or, it might include online usage information”.
There are many ethical issues to think about in Social Media. Content should be well thought out, and taken under careful consideration. The PSRA, Public Relations Research Association has a nice guide for Social Media Ethics.
Where else can you read and update yourself on Ethics and/or risk in Social Media?
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Dr. Kellie Emrich