Ethical Marketing & Privacy Online

As I continue to dive into social media marketing, I often wonder where marketers sit ethically with the amount of information legally available about potential customers. It is astounding how much information is shared over social media and online AND how little consumers know about their privacy as it relates to online posts.

From an ethical perspective, online marketers have a responsibility to respect privacy rights of consumers. However, the quantity and availability of public information can be overwhelming for a marketer and surprising to the consumer. According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, information a public information can include photos and other media, age and gender, biographical information (education, employment history, etc.), status updates, contacts, interests and geographical location ("Fact Sheet 35: Social Networking Privacy: How to Be Safe, Secure and Social," 2016).

For example, when utilizing Facebook ads, you can really dig into your target audience, and match multiple personal attributes based on what people have shared on their profile. Many consumers do not realize what is considered public on the Internet. Information can be become public by consumers choosing to post information, however, it can also become public by default or because social networks change their privacy policy without permission. And, approved “friends” or “connects” on social media have the ability to repost information even though your profile may be marked as "private". ("Fact Sheet 35: Social Networking Privacy: How to Be Safe, Secure and Social," 2016).

What are you thoughts as a facebook user and targeted consumer?

Fact Sheet 35: Social Networking Privacy: How to be Safe, Secure and Social. (2016, February). Retrieved June 9, 2016, from