HEY! That’s not RIGHT! – Topic 4, a question on ethics.

“It’s my life! I can say and post whatever i want!” or can you? Let us investigate…

. . .

– Are you sure you’re gonna say that? –

Will Smith on Jaden Smith. Will realizes his son is not the sharpest tool in the shed credit to reddit. dumb when I an I d W at falke I 'gait

Source: funnyjunk.com

There are millions of communications sent via social media everyday. There’s also a temptation which makes you want to post anything under the sun and share it with your friends. The question is, how would you know what you’re posting does not cross a certain line and affect you in future?

This brings me back to topic 3 where i found out that more recruiters are going online to source for talent. Another reminder to clean up your social media accounts the best you can as you do not want “zombie content” to come back and haunt you.[1]

Source: theundercoverrecruiter.com

Source: theundercoverrecruiter.com

So how would you know if you have really crossed the line when you post something? Under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 and section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988, they state:

Source: legislation.gov.uk

Source: legislation.gov.uk

Source: legislation.gov.uk

Source: legislation.gov.uk

By relating to these guidelines, i presume you pretty much got a rough idea on what not to post. Some examples that you should AVOID posting online:

1. Racist remarks – These are always offensive and may cost you your job. An example would be the case of Justine Sacco[2] who was sacked as communications director of the New York-based internet empire InterActiveCorp for posting this insensitive tweet:

Source: theguardian.com

Source: theguardian.com

2. Sexist remarks – Such remarks do not get you anywhere, it is plain offensive and indecentTwo firefighters learned it the hard way and were dismissed from their jobs.[3] Always ask yourself: “How would you like if that same comment was made on one of your family members?”

Source: news.nationalpost.com

Source: news.nationalpost.com

. . .


“Freedom of speech” does not mean you can post anything! So what is unethical behavior? According to Jay Shepherd, author of the book Firing at Will: A Manager’s Guide, he summarizes it with one sentence.[4]

Source: mashable.com

Source: mashable.com

Dr. Patricia J. Harned, president of the Ethics Resource Center(ERC) adds on that the perception of ethics are influenced by many things. It could be said that its in the values which we learnt as children. Another aspect could be the influence of people that come along the way in our lives that changes the view on what is right and wrong.[4]

As marketers in future, we should consider the kind of message we convey across to consumers. A “spicy and saucy” comment originally intended to promote your product/service might result in dire consequences if it’s found to be unethical. In conjunction with the video below, here are some guidelines you can follow for social media marketing. ENJOY! 🙂

(436 words)


[1] Jörgen Sundberg (n.d.) – To Post or Not to Post on Social Media? [INFOGRAPHIC]

[2] theguardian.com (2013) – Justine Sacco, PR executive fired over racist tweet, ‘ashamed’

[3] news.nationalpost.com (2013) – Two Toronto firefighters terminated over ‘unacceptable’ sexist tweets, third reportedly fired over Facebook post

[4] Sharlyn Lauby (2012) – Ethics and Social Media: Where Should You Draw The Line?

Image References:

funnyjunk.com – http://funnyjunk.com/Will+smith+on+jaden+smith/funny-pictures/5409099

theundercoverrecruiter.com – http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/job-seeker-not-post-social-media/

Communications Act 2003 – http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/21/section/127

Malicious Communications Act 1988 – http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/27/section/1

theguardian.com – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/22/pr-exec-fired-racist-tweet-aids-africa-apology

news.nationalpost.com – http://news.nationalpost.com/posted-toronto/two-toronto-firefighters-terminated-over-unacceptable-sexist-tweets-third-reportedly-fired-over-facebook-post

Video References:

Creatuity Corp. (2014) – Social Media Marketing Guidelines


5 thoughts on “HEY! That’s not RIGHT! – Topic 4, a question on ethics.

  1. Pingback: Topic 4: Summary & Comments | YJunNing

  2. Hi Kai Yuan!

    I agree that we have to be careful of what we post online due to freedom of speech. Even though we have freedom of speech, but we must still be conscious of what we put online. It can benefit or offend people in one way or another.

    We do not want to end up like Justine Sacco whereby we get blamed online. Getting flamed online is actually bad as it brings down our reputation online. Whatever we did can be found online with a click away.

    However, are we really having our freedom of speech? If we have our freedom of speech, we are able to comment on everything. But we often are controlled online or in our speech as it can be offensive to many people. With being controlled, I believe that we are actually not exercising on freedom of speech.

    What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hey Kai,

    Interesting issue you choose to talk about.

    Yes indeed there is a temptation to post anything under the sun and share it with your friends as after all that’s one way to use social media right? I agree we still have to post with caution as I mention in my post too so it does not affect myself in the future.

    Based on the guidelines you reference yes I agree racist remarks is one important issue we shouldn’t be making too even on our own personal Social Media accounts as it too offensive.
    I noticed you used the Justine Sacco example which Ryan also cited and yes I agree that is an example of how even a director of a known firm can be fired for an insensitive tweet

    Certainly I agree about sexist remarks being “offensive and indecent.” however just a thought, what about celebs or talk show hosts making such remarks as joke in public interviews, is that acceptable or should not be tolerated as well.


    (168 words)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: what’s allowed and what’s not allowed | silvianasutanto

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s