Ethics in Social Media: Consumer Data

This week’s topic is to discuss an ethical issue raised by business use of social media. Specifically, we will look at the use of consumer data, and just how ethical it really is. For the purpose of including all my points I have created the following PowToon video which demonstrates them.


The Huffington Post (2012), from

Customer Data: Designing for Transparency and Trust. (2015). Harvard Business Review, from

Data Protection Directive. (2016). Wikipedia, from

Forbes Welcome. (2016)., from

New draft European data protection regime. (2016)., from

Twitter abuse: easy on the messenger | Editorial. (2014). the Guardian, from

6 thoughts on “Ethics in Social Media: Consumer Data

  1. mab4g1412 says:

    Your visual portrayal of ethical issues in social-media data collection was really captivating and easy for me to interpret Melina! 🙂

    The issue of consumer-data misuse and it’s uncontrollable gathering is evidently a huge problem today. The failure of the Data Protection Directive you mentioned, to regulate Giant US-based (Silicon-Valley) companies is something which the former CTO of PayPal touched upon this short but fascinating extract! [1].

    The eye-opening Harvard Business statistics you shared on people’s lack of awareness worldwide really underlines the lack of proper education in this sector. Do you feel the onus to understand the fine-print should be down to US as collective users/consumers? Or do you feel big fortune 500 companies are finding clever ways of shielding these sensitive matters from prying eyes? (I’m personally unsure lol :()

    Your 4 step guide for website reformation is something I feel should be integrated! Having an employer-consumer relationship where both parties are able to confide each other’s interests is essential I feel in a promoting a positive online environment and tackling this issue head on [2].

    I also agree that targeted marketing can be used in a way which is great for all like you mentioned, there is just room for more transparency and honesty from both sides!

    Azam 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

    • melinalinden says:

      Thank you Azam for your insightful references. I have in fact seen the video you mentioned, and I think its commendable that big companies acknowledge the importance of informing users about their data’s (mis)use. Regarding your question about whether its up to the users themselves to look out for the fine print, like you…I am unsure. Of course, companies should explicitly state how users’ data will be used exactly, and users should be able to find this information. However, companies will inevitably try to make it as hard as possible to find this information, and users will always tick the “agree with terms and conditions” without having actually read the conditions!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. agnieszkagrzesiuk says:

    Melinda, you touched upon a very important topic in a visually attractive form. 🙂
    In a comment above Azam asked a couple of questions relevant to the Big Data reality we live in. I wanted to add a word about profiling from a customer perspective: I agree that it can be beneficial but it also can deprive us as customers from seeing things that we otherwise may wish to try but they would not come up in our search results as irrelevant to our characteristics and preferences.

    Regarding the data protection law, inspired by your post, I have done some research and found that the GDPR was finally adopted last week (14th April) and here are infographics that present major changes to the DP law. They complement information in your video. From both it can be seen that the changes are to customers advantage – the question is how realistic is the expectation that all non-EU countries dealing with the EU customers will comply with the EU law?

    More info about the law changes: Client Alert by Milbank

    Liked by 1 person

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