I have previously explored how social media can increase employability through the creation of a brand across various platforms and the utilization of privacy settings. However, is the use of social media by businesses ethical?
What do I mean by ethical?
Ethics are ‘a system of moral principles’ that acknowledge what is good for both the individual and society. In a business setting, we can consider the employee and employer as having a duty to each other; to respect, uphold values and be wary of actions.
Andy sernovitz explores how ideas of trust, disclosure and honesty are consistently considered by businesses in the real world, but sometimes fail to carry across to social media (video below).
In terms of the recruitment process, is the use of social media ethical? 64% of 800 recruiters surveyed look at 2+ social networking sites during the recruitment process, and many use specialist organisations that provide a screening service (IBE, 2011).
We would consider the act of businesses following and watching us in real life, in an attempt to understand our personal lives, as unquestionably unethical. So does screening lose real-world ethical considerations? I explore this question in my Prezi linked below:
Regardless, students need to be aware of what employers are really looking for…
Root and Mckay (2014) compared student perceptions of screening against reality. They found that they correctly identified drugs, alcohol, sex references and negative comments as an employer concern. However, few recognised the necessity of their online communication skills, grammar and spelling. Personally, hearing this is somewhat concerning. My personal Twitter and Facebook accounts act as an archive of outdated content and opinions, and my communication skills often purposely lack. However, after leaving university, I have an ability to utilize privacy settings and alter online portrayals of me accordingly.
What is especially problematic though, is that employers often looked at students’ friendship groups, accounts and tagged posts. This is non-manageable and unavoidable content.
Finally, on to a topic of particular and course-related interest (Foucault and surveillance) ! Screening has both a key difference and similarity to the concept of mass-surveillance explored by Greenwald (2014) below. This comparison which highlights both sides of the ethical consideration debate around screening, allows me to present a final conclusion on social media, business use and ethics (see infogaphic below the video).
I want to leave you with a contrasting case of blind-employment to get you considering where you stand in this debate (Economist, 2015; BBC, 2015). I welcome any questions and a debate in the comments!
Word count: 425
Infographics (‘A Quick Think Back’; concluding comparison) created by me
Presi (‘Social Media and Screening’) created by me
BBC, (2017). Ethics: a general introduction. [online] Bbc.co.uk. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/introduction/intro_1.shtml [Accessed 25 Mar. 2017].
Burton, S. (2017). Social Media and Screening. Available at: https://prezi.com/lui2hmojsork/social-media-and-screening/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy# [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].
Burton, S. (2017). Topic 3: Professional online identities. [Blog] Learning to ‘Live and Work on the Web’. Available at: https://scottmburton.wordpress.com/2017/03/12/topic-3-professional-online-identities/ [Accessed 25 Mar. 2017].
Greenwald, G. (2014). Why privacy matters. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcSlowAhvUk&feature=youtu.be [Accessed 25 Mar. 2017].
Institute of Business Ethics, (2011). The Ethical Challenges of Social Media. Business Ethics Briefing. [online] London: IBE. Available at: https://www.ibe.org.uk/userassets/briefings/ibe_briefing_22_the_ethical_challenges_of_social_media.pdf [Accessed 25 Mar. 2017].
Parkinson, J. and Smith-Walters, M. (2015). Who, What, Why: What is name-blind recruitment?. BBC. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34636464 [Accessed 25 Mar. 2017].
Root, T. and McKay, S. (2014). Student Awareness of the Use of Social Media Screening by Prospective Employers. Journal of Education for Business, 89(4), pp.202-206.
Sernovitz, A. (2015). Social media disclosure and ethics for big brands. Available at: https://vimeo.com/131121144 [Accessed 25 Mar. 2017].
The Economist, (2015). No names, no bias?. The Economist. [online] Available at: http://www.economist.com/news/business/21677214-anonymising-job-applications-eliminate-discrimination-not-easy-no-names-no-bias [Accessed 25 Mar. 2017].
Van Iddekinge, C., Lanivich, S., Roth, P. and Junco, E. (2013). Social Media for Selection? Validity and Adverse Impact Potential of a Facebook-Based Assessment. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2013(1), pp.12262