Are you aware of the dark side of social media?

Social media only has a positive side, really? NO. 


(Source: Google)

Where has civility on social media gone to?


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“In social media, the right ethics equals the right perspective and right thinking on how to leverage social media appropriately and how to engage people in the right manner. “ (@Cohn Carol)

What are business ethics in social media?


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Are organizations carrying it too far by using social media to recruit talents? 


(Source: Google)

Organization are increasingly reliant on social media as marketing or recruitment purposes, and there are several controversy regarding ethics. Now, should organization really incorporate social media as part of them and are they putting it into proper practices?


(Source: Google)

Read (Vol 25, no 2) an Ethiko article whereby an individual was jilted due to his online activities back then. In the previous topic, we critically discussed that employers are capitalizing on social media as a mechanism to assess their candidates before deciding their admittance. Leveraging on social media for recruitment may be beneficial for the organization, however, one must not compromise on freedom of speech and privacy. 


(Source: thelibertybacon)

Ken Muelier mentioned that individuals create social networking sites as individual desire community, connection and involvement with the real world. We thought that we have the right to do and say whatever we like on our personal social media because it’s our life experiences. However, now we no longer have the right to post whatever we like on social network, as it might affect our future adversely. Most of us are not aware of the fact that recruiters are watching our online activities and this might be the reason why individual couldn’t get a job.

Don’t we all humans haveFreedom of Speechin this era? According to National Labour Board, freedom of speech gives employees a federally protected right to speak up at any places and it prohibits the punishment of workers. Sadly, even with this policy implemented, it will also cause us to lose a chance to get the desired job because companies are not differentiating between personal and professional social platforms – 


(Source: Peter G Smith)

(Source: BBC Newsline)

The main point is words/actions on personal social media doesn’t determine a person’s professionalism. Why should companies base their recruitment decisions on our social activities? It is unfair and unethical for applicants to be penalized from getting a job due to their online activities. Alternatively, they should be provided a chance to explain their actions before the organization make their decision.

Watch video on how an employee is being forced to resign

(Source: ethicworkshop)

YES, freedom of speech doesn’t implies that people won’t have to suffer the consequences of their words, but what about “Everybody deserves a second chance”? With reference to Justine Sacco, it’s repugnant to assert such racism remark which eventually caused a downturn in her life. Moreover, does she not deserve a second chance even after making a public apology?

There’s no doubt that an organization should conduct a thorough pre-employment check, but are they being ethical by digging into others’ personal lives? Additionally, do organization notify applicants that they will be searching for information on their social media sites? If not, it’s intrusion of privacy.


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Do you know of a shocking fact?

In recent cases, some employers are requesting for applicants to provide their passwords to their social media sites. Organization should respect individual’s privacy, if a password is activated, it means that the person want to keep the information confidential. And by doing so, they’re risking the invasion of privacy laws. As such, companies need to exercise caution by incorporating social media monitoring policy or pre-employment guide (pg 8) as part of their recruitment policy to ensure that they are not getting hold of candidates’ information unethically.


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I personally feel that it is unethical and a violation of our privacy to judge our competence to conform to job responsibilities by retrieving information from our personal social media profile. However, there is an exception for open-access platforms like LinkedIn as it is clear that candidates are open for social media screening on such platform. In conclusion, we should have the right to express ourselves freely, and shouldn’t be discriminated due to our personal online activities. 


  • Cohn, Carolyn, and Carolyn Cohn. ‘Social Media Ethics And Etiquette’. CompuKol Communications. N.p., 2010. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
  •,. ‘Rape Culture | As Free As A Bird’. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
  •,. ‘Ethikos: A Business Ethics Publication’. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
  • theGrio, (2013). #HasJustineLandedYet: PR woman’s racist tweet sets off firestorm. [online]
  • SearchSecurity,. ‘Best Practices For Employer Monitoring Of Social Media’. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
  • Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter. ‘SCOTUS Rules In Favor Of Man Convicted Of Posting Threatening Messages On Facebook – Cnnpolitics.Com’. CNN. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
  • Guerin, Lisa. ‘Can Potential Employers Check Your Facebook Page? | Nolo.Com’. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
  •,. ‘The Invasion Of Social Media – Employees Privacy & Employers Rights – M+K Lawyers’. N.p., 2012. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
  • Kumar, S. ‘Why Monitoring Employees’ Social Media Is A Bad Idea’. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
  • Landau, Philip. ‘Job Applications: Social Media Profiles Under Scrutiny’. the Guardian. N.p., 2013. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
  • Jacobson, Roni. ‘Facebook Snooping On Job Candidates May Backfire For Employers’. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
  •,. ‘Social Networking And Recruitment | Acas Advice And Guidance | Acas’. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.
  • Digital Marketing, Social Media, & SEO – Lancaster, PA — Inkling Media,. ’11 Reasons Why People Love And Use Social Media’. N.p., 2014. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
  •,. ‘The First Amendment Of Social Media: Freedom Of Tweet – Brian Solis’. N.p., 2015. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
  •,. ‘Employers, Get Outta My Facebook – Businessweek’. N.p., 2015. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.

4 thoughts on “Are you aware of the dark side of social media?

  1. Hi Sheryl,

    I agree to your point stating – it is unethical for companies to assess candidates’ information based on their digital footprints due to intrusion of privacy – to a certain extent.

    In the current digital era we live in, our digital footprints on all social platforms are interlinked on the web, and privacy is definitely and inevitably compromised. Our online activities are naturally traced for all sorts of intention – not forgetting for social recruitment purposes.

    Citing takeaways from the previous topic, the ease of forging multiple online identities might induce individuals to portray an ideal and promising online identity on job-seeking platform, LinkedIn. What you do online depicts your character – therefore, as a matter of ethicality, I personally feel that it is fine for companies to assess one’s fit with the job by prying into their online activities on different social media platforms. This is performed so as to get a comprehensive view of an individual, and not judge them solely based on one platform. Do you agree? Let me know!

    However so, the point you made about extracting information about an individual ethically with reference to the pre-employment guide is absolutely valid, and must be taken into consideration by employers so as to avoid violating any laws.

    All in all, one must act responsibly and be watchful of things they post online on ALL online identities and ALL platforms used – as there are no closed doors on the internet.


  2. Your post definitely had a lot of very valid points that made me question an employer’s perspective. Yes sure our social media is public and all, but it IS still PRIVACY. Because what we do outside of work and at work are 2 separate things. And for us to create a separate identity for this, to lie and pretend to be someone whom are not, that is unfair.

    Also, on the topic of ethics, employers should come out with a model or some form of agreement with their employees to let the future employees know that they are being stalked online. Perhaps, some job scopes might not require this. An architect for instance, what he gossips about his friends would not affect his designs right?

    I am glad that the social media monitoring policy or pre-employment guide is there to govern this.
    It needs to be enforced though!

    Thank you for the good read!! LET US FIGHT HAHAH 😀


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