Topic 4 – Where should you draw the line between social media & ethics ?

As the usage of social media rises everyday, more companies are using social media platforms as a medium to reach out to the public/customers. Using it for marketing , advertising, feed-backs and other business purposes. But do you know where to draw the line of using it? And what ethical issue(s) are there if we crossed the line? Example: Qantas Airlines More #Tweetfails on 19 Companies That Made Huge Social Media Fails

Created a Prezi about a brief description of the Qantas and what issues they faced in year 2011, click on the link for the actual slideshow. (WordPress doesn’t support prezi’s embed codes, resorted to video)

Workers on strike which brought Qantas Airways reputation low and they proceed on Twitter campaign to gain customers feed-backs (trust).


click on image for source

The campaign immediately backfires with constant negative tweets. The PR department went on with the campaign thinking it’s the right time when it was in the middle of industrial dispute. Using social media to gain back their customers’ trust and enhance their reputation.


Ethical issues arises. Lack of sufficient knowledge on the functionality on social media and unable to manage digital dangers. The campaign brought their reputation to their lowest. They received criticism and sarcastic remarks. Why this happens when they have good past feed-backs from other campaigns? Did they analyze/access the campaign before and after going ahead with it? Five perspectives to deal with the issue. A Framework for Moral Decision Making

  1. Utilitarian Approach
  2. Rights Approach
  3. Fairness or Justice Approach
  4. Common-Good Approach
  5. Virtue Approach

Companies should analyze their current situation before going ahead with any social media related activities. Whether is it ethical to use social media to reach out when there’s a dispute to resolve problem or seek understanding. Social media platform(s) isn’t an “all-purpose” medium for business purposes. You have to ask yourself is it an ethical approach? What is the purpose for it? Who are your target audience? What’s your “relationship” with social media? Social media is a powerful thing but it’s your responsibility to use it wisely especially when you have a company reputation at stake.

How different would you approach the issue ethically? #SaveQantas ? #FeedbackQantas? What’s your point of view?


Ethics and Social Media
19 Companies That Made Huge Social Media Fails
Enterprise-Related Crisis Communication on Twitter
Ethics and Social Media – Slide Share
Ethics and the Five Deadly Sins of Social Media

6 thoughts on “Topic 4 – Where should you draw the line between social media & ethics ?

  1. Hi Emilia!
    It is interesting that you talk about knowledge sufficiency.
    I agree that we must have enough knowledge in order to put something up online. If there isn’t sufficient evidence gathered, a large amount of backlash can be received. When there is backlash, it is hard to hide or cover up because once a negative tweet or incident happens, it is hard to use lots of positive tweets to cover up.

    In my view, I think they will need to settle their internal issue which is about workers going on strike. With workers going on strike, staffs at head office will have a difficult time to address passengers. This also brings down the trust that the customers have towards the brand. Thus, they might have to start from the bottom again.

    What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello ! Thanks for dropping by to comment ! 😊

      Yes , I totally agree with you ! Certain issues may not be solved with social media and sometimes it isn’t the appropriate time to use it too. I agree with you that they should solve their internal issue first. Their lack of knowledge on solving the issue caused their failure in the Twitter campaign.

      Lack of skills & expertise in settling their issues first before proceeding with the campaign, which is not very professional for an international Airline to do so. Which lead to their lost in trust in their brand.

      I agree with your point ! πŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good Evening Emilia.Q,

    Firstly, I would like to commend on your effort in attempting to branch out into Prezi! Indeed, Qantas Airways twitter case study may serve us a reminder about how misappropriation usage of social media would lead possibilities such as backfiring.

    To move a little in depth to the framework for moral decision making, as we both know that it is vital for marketers to increase shareholder’s value it draws a question in my mind whether is it completely wrong for businesses to engage in unethical behaviors in the context of social media?

    Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly aware of the implications in the area of ethics. Tian Yi’s blog did mentioned about a case about Windows running a campaign to create a public bashing of android phones. Definitely, an unethical approach to an extent, but it had also been successful to a certain extent in publicizing bad reviews of Android phone which would alter a consumer’s purchasing decision.

    What are your views on this? πŸ˜€


    • Hi pat!
      Thanks for dropping by & commenting on my post!

      Yes as marketers I agree with your point of maximizing shareholder’s value, & sometimes to an extend one may go use unethical ways to achieve it . As the example you gave me on what TianYi has posted, unethical way yet had a positive outcome.

      I don’t agree that it’s fully wrong to engage with unethical behavior. It also depends on what’s the purpose of using the social media. Who are your target audience for your objective? What information you want them to see? You wouldn’t want to engage unethical behavior if your company is still in the middle of an internal dispute right? It just make things worse.

      Using TianYi’s example, yes their public bashing approach to some extend its kind of successful but at the same time have negative feedbacks . But they have sufficient knowledge on social media functionality & how to handle these negative/dangerous digital feedbacks which actually turned out to be quite successful .

      My view is that it depends on the objective(s) of using social media for. The purpose, the importance/serious level of it. How you analyze it & weigh the pros & cons of using unethical & ethical ways. May not be completely wrong to engage in unethical behaviors πŸ™‚


  3. Pingback: Review of Topic 4: Should we embrace firms using social media unethically? | Life of Pat

  4. Pingback: Topic 4 – Reflective Summary & Comments | Living on the Web

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