Ethics is an essential part of any profession. The business ethics, along with the personal ethics needs to be followed. Considering the case study of targeting a broken heart, people have the tendency to post the stories of the breakup on the social networking sites such as Facebook (University, 2017). In a recent study on how the online behaviour of the people gets affected on their breakup moments has revealed the fact that people tend to post their personal issues and the reasons of their breakup (Berry, 2013). There is often a gap between the breakup and the Facebook post announcing the breakup. However, Facebook uses data mining and displays certain advertisements, targeting the broken and weak heart (Cohen, 2016). However, the people having recent breakup tends to get attracted to those offers made in the advertisements, committing various mistakes.
On the part of the company, Facebook, it is unethical to take advantage of the weaknesses. However, since Facebook uses data mining and other technology to offer its users relevant advertisements and offers made based on their recent posts, hence it cannot be called unethical. This is because, Facebook does not have the intelligence to judge the emotional turmoil of the person and hence it cannot judge whether to exploit the weakness of the people or not.
Professionalism is one of the basic ethical considerations that a person or a company needs to have, while engaging in a business. It refers to the ethics and competencies that is expected of a professional person or company. In the case study of Facebook targeting the weak heart, lack of professionalism has been seen. This is because, the information technology on which the company works has artificial intelligence (DeMartino & McCloskey, 2016). However, the artificial intelligence is not smart enough to judge whether to target the weak heart or not. Thus, the company needs to upgrade its software and technology such that information communication technology could be used in an efficient manner. Professionalism needs to be incorporated while designing the technology on which Facebook works. Moreover, as seen in the case study of Machado, he was the first person who was convicted at the age of 19 years, for sending life threatening hate mails to 56 Asian students ("Machado Case Materials", 2017). This is an example of utter misuse of the information technology and communication. Email is one of the most widely used information technology system for communication (Dent & Whitehead, 2013). This was misused by Richard Machado and had a deep social and ethical impact along with setting a wrongful example of misuse of internet and information technology and communication.
The advent of information technology and communication is a boon to the society and needs to be used effectively by the people of the society. However, the misuse of the email, to send threatening mails to 56 Asian students was a clear misuse of the information technology and communication.
Intellectual property includes the copyrights and patents that give exclusive rights to the person to for the inventions or other intellectual properties. The lack of privacy or infringement of the intellectual properties in the cyberspaces include the copyright of the online articles, unauthorized use of online data, breach of data privacy, and entering into personal cyberspace (Hubman et al., 2015). Copyright infringement includes the unauthorized download of pirated softwares, games, music, movies. The data privacy needs to be protected and only authorized softwares and music should be used. Moreover, the privacy of each person needs to be respected in the cyber world, thus, maintaining the integrity of the individuals. Digital copyright violation is a crime and needs to be refrained from (Weckert & Lucas, 2013). The business giants ensure that they do not exchange critical information in the cyber space, as the cyber space is vulnerable to authorized access and hacking. Thus, importance has to be given to the protection of intellectual property on the cyberspace, along with avoidance of using pirated software and music. Protection of intellectual property is an ethical issue and each professional needs to protect the privacy of the users (University, 2017). However, it might be argued that, since Facebook is a social platform, and the users are sharing their private information in a public platform, hence the use of data mining for suggesting events is justified and not a violation of privacy or infringement of personal property in the cyberspace.
Cyber ethics is referred to as the study of the legal and social issues, involving the cyber technology. The cyber ethics incorporates the moral and social values in the cyber world. Cyber ethics is essential to be maintained while incorporating information technology and communication. In the case of Facebook targeting the broken heart, the cyber ethics is violated. Though Facebook is a business house and the advertisements and offers are presented with the motivation of earning money, however, the cyber ethics need to be maintained. It has been highlighted by the researchers, that the posts made by men, have phrases such as “healing”, “drowning sorrow”, days before they announce their breakup. However, the posts made by the women have these phrases on the actual announcement (Reddy & Reddy, 2014). Hence, it is unethical that that Facebook mines its user’s posts and offer advertisements and offers taking the advantage of their weakness. In order to maintain cyber ethics, Facebook should avoid mining into the posts of the users especially with certain keywords that is indicative of a breakup (Spahn, 2014). Moreover, when the status of a person is changed to single, with indicative posts, the suggestive advertisements need to be stopped. However, certain offers for therapeutic treatment and counselling might be given to the users, with the intension of relieving them of the trauma that they are going through. Cyber ethics will be maintained if the use of data mining is directed towards the well-being of the people undergoing a breakup phase.
Berry, D. (2013). Ethics and media culture: Practices and representations. CRC Press.
Cohen, A. I. (2016). Ethics and Professional Practice. In Practicing Professional Ethics in Economics and Public Policy (pp. 237-244). Springer Netherlands.
DeMartino, G. F., & McCloskey, D. N. (2016). The Oxford handbook of professional economic ethics. Oxford University Press.
Dent, M., & Whitehead, S. (2013). Managing professional identities: Knowledge, performativities and the'new'professional (Vol. 19). Routledge.
Hubman, J. M., Doyle, Z. B., Payne III, R. L., Woodburn, T. F., McDaniel, B. G., & Giordano, J. V. (2015). Ethical Considerations in the Cyber Domain. In Evolution of Cyber Technologies and Operations to 2035 (pp. 163-174). Springer International Publishing.
Machado Case Materials. (2017). Computingcases.org. Retrieved 2 May 2017, from https://computingcases.org/case_materials/machado/machado_case_intro.html
Reddy, G. N., & Reddy, G. J. (2014). A Study of Cyber Security Challenges and its emerging trends on latest technologies. arXiv preprint arXiv:1402.1842.
Spahn, T. E. (2014). Professionalism vs. Ethics. Experience, 24, 47.
University, S. (2017). Targeting a Broken Heart. Scu.edu. Retrieved 2 May 2017, from https://www.scu.edu/ethics/focus-areas/internet-ethics/resources/targeting-a-broken-heart/
Weckert, J., & Lucas, R. (2013). Professionalism in the information and communication technology industry. ANU Press.
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