With everyone from your grandma to your grocer on social media, it has become necessary to create a universally accepted Code of Ethics that can be adopted by all social media websites. With that, I recommend adopting The McCourt Code of Ethics for Social Media. This simple 3-step code is designed to cover the vast amount of ethical issues that stem from social media abuse.
The McCourt Code of Ethics for Social Media
1.) Information and photos of others must not be published without their consent.
- This is the most important tenant of the code, because it seems that most ethical violations are centered around exposures of information. Whether it’s an email that gets leaked on Twitter.com or a revealing photograph that is posted to Facebook.com, users and non-users alike need to have the right to protect their private information.
2.) Harassment, obscenity, and/or cyber-bullying will not be tolerated.\
- This tenant is necessary because a great deal of communication now takes place through social media, and with that comes the negative forms of communication. Harassment of another, obscene postings, or behavior that can be classified as cyber-bullying must be clearly prohibited, audited, and met with real consequences.
3.) Profiles and/or posts cannot be purposefully deceptive.
- This tenant stems from the ethical issues surrounding deceptive activities such as the creation of fake profiles or spreading of false information. Blogs, profiles, and posts cannot be used to willfully deceive. You cannot blog on behalf of another, you cannot create a profile to benefit your organization unless the connection is made public, and you cannot knowingly post falsehoods that can be misinterpreted as fact.