From eye-catching titles to biased reviews of products and services, the nature of social media easily involves ethical issues. The public often look to the Web for accurate and up-to-date information, however, the information is often being “packaged” in a certain way and is inaccurate. According to statisca.com, there are 2.34billion social users worldwide, which is about 32% of the entire population. This shows that social media has the power to affect a large number of people, might even be unconsciously. Today, I’m going to talk a little about ethical issues within business use of social media marketing, and why it is wrong.
All over the world, several companies employ the help of bloggers (or you can call them influencers) to promote certain product or service to the public.
Has anybody heard of the Gushcloud Saga between Singtel and Gushcloud? In early 2015, it was said that the Singapore-based telecommunications company hired the marketing influencer company to assist in the promoting of a mobile plan for teens. Part of the contract was for the influencers from Gushcloud to badmouth their competitors Starhub and M1, and at the same time promote Singtel aggresively on their social media sites. The influencers were badmouthing Starhub and M1 on no basis, and provided false information to the public.
Below are some evidences of the issue:
In the end, Singtel did not release a clear explanation and never admitted to the matter. We might never know what is the truth. Did Singtel really employ Gushcloud to smear Starhub and M1 or did Singtel have no idea what their marketing companies planned? However, my opinion is that Gushcloud had no bad blood with the three telecommunications companies, so there was no need for lies as it was more of harm to themselves. Or in other words, Singtel was really sloppy in quality control for their marketing.
In conclusion, I feel that social media marketing might appear as biased and deceptive if the ones promoting the product or service was not truthful. That’s because we as the consumer might refer to their advice as we ‘believe’ that their reviews were the truth. However, I personally believe that social media marketing is still one of the few leading market strategy as it is efficient with the exception of a few incidents! 🙂
Lipschultz, J. (2015). The Ethics of Social Media Accuracy. [online] The Huffington Post. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeremy-harris-lipschultz/the-ethics-of-social-media_b_7489280.html [Accessed 11 Nov. 2016].
http://www.statista.com. (n.d.). Topic: Social Media Statistics. [online] Available at: https://www.statista.com/topics/1164/social-networks/ [Accessed 11 Nov. 2016].
garagestock, (n.d.). Business Ethics. Chart with keywords and icons on blackboard. [image] Available at: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-377944765/stock-photo-business-ethics-chart-with-keywords-and-icons-on-blackboard.html?src=boz3qchIC3pKagcL9CanlA-1-2 [Accessed 11 Nov. 2016].
THE WEE MARKETING AGENCY | DIGITAL MARKETING SOLUTIONS. (n.d.). The Singtel Gushcloud Smear Marketing Campaign Saga. [online] Available at: http://www.theweemarketingagency.com/blog/2015/3/19/the-singtel-gushcloud-smear-marketing-campaign-saga [Accessed 11 Nov. 2016].STOMP. (2016). Gushcloud-Singtel saga: It all started with an anonymous e-mail to Xiaxue – The Insider – Lollipop. [online] Available at: http://www.lollipop.sg/content/gushcloud-singtel-saga-it-all-started-anonymous-e-mail-xiaxue#&gid=1&pid=16 [Accessed 11 Nov. 2016].
Oviya, A. (2016). The GushCloud Saga. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyngnlyxBwM [Accessed 11 Nov. 2016].