Case Study – “Facebook: It’s About the Money”

  1. Perform an ethical analysis of Facebook. What is the ethical dilemma presented by this case?

The Facebook team faces controversy regarding the information and data they collect from their users and clients. The users at Facebook have greater concern regarding their personal information being used for advertisement and shared with other parties without their knowledge or consent. The users are also concerned regarding the users control features that allow them to keep their information in check. The Facebook also faces the dilemma of how to use the information gained by users and turn it into an investment to return profit by establishing partnership with third parties. The Facebook wants to do this without violating the privacy of the users at Facebook. The users feel that they have to pay for the free services offered by Facebook with their information regarding themselves, their relationships, friendships and lives.

Facebook also uses the information to attract the advertisers to advertise heavily on Facebook. The application develops and other business interested in user patterns of search and preferences are also attracted to such information that is offered by Facebook. Facebook does not enforce the user’s privacy to be violated, in fact there are applications that ask for permission before the data and information is being shared to other parties. The users however, are not notified or ask for permission when their information is being shared through their friend’s applications.

The various features at the Facebook are in function due to the application developers and other business being in contact with Facebook. The users at Facebook have the access to all these services for free and they also are available to share and communicate with others on Facebook. In order to improve these services the Facebook management and team works to develop more suitable patterns of search and information of users to content them with the companies and other service providers to help accelerate business activities and others in the Facebook team. The Facebook of this provides the Facebook users with control on privacy and information to help them have the right to reserve their information to themselves or to the trusted internet sources they select.

  1. What is the relationship of privacy to Facebook’s business model?

The privacy is not the main component of the business structure of the Facebook. The Facebook is maintained and developed based on sharing for information and data across the network of users and business partners. The people are given free social media services and in return they are able to share and provide information that can be shared with other parties. The Facebook runs its services based on the patterns of the users use of Facebook services. The Facebook data management is huge and effectives. The Facebook is able to use this information are sell products and services that best fall in the interests of the users. Hence, privacy is the Facebook model in general to have the access to information through control and rights reserved by the users.

The Facebook parties need to comply with the policies stated by the Facebook management team. These policies include Claims of Intellectual Property Infringement, Platform Policies, Privacy Policy, Promotion Guidelines, Payment Terms, Claims of Copyright Infringement, and others to provide the Facebook users with the window of rights and the business with the window of opportunity to use the information and share the right information with right customers. This helps maintain the relationship with the Facebook users and those services providers who interact with Facebook.

1. Individual Privacy

The individual privacy is the state of being hidden or concealed by the others or selected parties. The individual privacy at the Facebook maintains the information and data of the users according to the user’s priorities. The individual information at the Facebook is shared by the Facebook team over the internet and is accessible to anyone. The issues of the privacy state that e users should have the right to keep the information hidden if they desire. The individual privacy issues arise because of the use of information as commodity by Facebook.

2. Security of Data & Information

The security of data and the information shared on the social media refers to the intent how private the Facebook profile can be and to what extent it can be shared and accessed by the others. The security also refers to the ability to edit the information on the Facebook page.

3. Accuracy of Data & Information

The accuracy of the data information in a free environment like internet and social media is a concern. The users can be given the right to accurately use their information but still there are no rules in the world of internet.

4. Data Quality

The data quality refers to how much of the data and information is in the hand of a party the Facebook user trust. The data and information used by the users on the Facebook applications and the games on Facebook cannot be understood to be trusted or understood according to the rules of the Facebook pages. The users are not sure if the information is being safe in the hands of the application and services like game. The result would be identity theft, data theft and use of this data without the users consent.

5. Changing Nature of Business

The marketing advertisers need to use the internet tools to best serve the purposes of marketing. The Facebook uses maintains more than 350 million users everyday which means that the users are exposed to the information shared on the internet and Facebook every day. Hence  the patterns though which the marketers of the internet use the Facebook is changed and they try to narrow down the internet content of marketing to focus their products to the users who are interest out of millions of users. The business like Facebook has shift in this regard to accommodate the partners and Facebook users both.

6. Appropriate Information Use

The appropriate information use refers to the use of information according to the need of the platform. The appropriate use of information refers to the use of the information by applications to correctly and accurately connect them with the external sources or companies.

7. Health & Safety

The mental health and wellbeing is under consideration when speaking on internet use. The issues of cyber bullying and the process of freedom of speech are sometimes against the user’s wellbeing and they feel unsafe and unprotected by the service providers.

8. Copyright Laws

The copyright laws are the law that secures the information, media or other data against someone’s name. The use of the data and information along with other media can be shared on the internet like on MySpace where bands share their songs and pieces. The concern here is that the information available can or cannot be reproduced entirely on partially. On Facebook the same issues arises when the information is shared by users on Facebook pages.

9. Advertising Policies

Facebook secures the users privacy and their use of internet services by restricting the application developers to not use any form of advertisements that are not under agreement with the Facebook. The agreement prevents the advertisers from using and collecting the personal information of users. The policies in one place but there are still applications that are letting the unapproved advertising companies to track and use personal information of the users. This is a violation of the Facebook policies under advertisements section.

10. Advanced privacy models

Facebook has an improved and most advanced privacy model. These model and privacy policies list all kind of information and type of data. The users are also given the right to reject the application requests to types of data they do not wish to allow sharing. The application on smart phone and its privacy policies do not have much of the application control on privacy and personal data of users.

  1. Describe the weaknesses of Facebook’s privacy policies and features. What management, organization, and technology factors have contributed to those weaknesses?

Three highlights on Facebook’s privacy policies:

  • Users have the right to share information where they feel comfortable. The users also have the control over the use of information distribution and their privacy setting.
  • The Facebook is a free service where information can be communicated and shared freely. The enhanced application and websites structure allow the users to communicate and network with other people. The users have the right to control how they wish to share the information with third parties websites and application.
  • Facebook given the advertisers the right to select the characteristics of the users they want to reveal their advertisement and information of products to. The Facebook uses the information to serve on Facebook advertisements.

Weaknesses of Facebook’s privacy policies and features

  • The Facebook users need to disable the feature of sharing of information manually
  • The Facebook user’s information is made public even without their users consent.
  • The news feed features allows the Facebook users to learn who the other users are friends with and what do they do- activities- on the Facebook pages. The actions performed on the Facebook are logged.
  • The Facebook keeps the copy of the users account and the copy is never deleted even when the account is deactivated or deleted. The user’s data remains with the Facebook even after users do not wish to have a relationship with it.
  • The Facebook privacy policy is not easy to understand and comprehend especially by the users who do not all have the vast knowledge of the technology and the use of other features like communication and sharing of information. The Facebook states the regulations that are developed by the principles and the relationships with the users and other parties. The information of the privacy shared by Facebook includes the Privacy Policy, Payment Terms, Platform Policies, Ads Guidelines, and others. The Facebook has faced more controversies in the way to success that has causes issues in users and other partnerships. The Facebook users, partners and service providers must all comply with the policies to help sustain the use of the Facebook information and sharing of data on-line.

Factors of management, organization, and technology factors have contributed to Facebook weaknesses

Management

The management of Facebook thinks that the users have the information regarding their data being sharing and the Facebook has the consent to share it with other parties. The Facebook has given the feature of opt-in to disable the sharing feature completely but it is always the users who are not always aware of the change sin policies.

The Facebook management failed to understand how much of the sharing of information that they have failed to understand is okay with the users. The news feed feature violates the privacy of the users that they management has failed to oversee.

The Facebook revenue is generated from the advertising and there is need of strategic compliance by the Facebook users to allow the information to be shared online and shared with other parties that is not served or understood by the management.

Organization

The user data and information is a large set of data that can be used by the advertisers but it will remain untouched if the users do not allow the information to be shared by other parties or they do not feel comfortable to let other parties borrow with information and them entertain them through the 8inromation best to their interests.

The assistance of watchdog group is required when users intend to delete their accounts and deactivate their relationship with Facebook.

Facebook encourages people to be more open and sharing that allows their information to be shared and used by advertisers. But the control over the personal information and personal data on the users is far from what Facebook offers.

The users are not fully aware of the privacy and control policies on Facebook.

Technology

The most users have the concern of the privacy control and the user’s information control. The user privacy demands are not entertained and miscalculated. The Facebook launched the beacon advertising and that showed how much of the users consent and understanding of the privacy policy was misunderstood and ignored by the management.

The services of the sharing data and information began with the “opt-out” feature. The service did not work effectively and kept sending out information of the users to third parties and Facebook even when the users was not logged in or using the Facebook page continuously.

The deactivated accounts copies are retained by the B team and used to share information and data.

The Facebook users are not notified when their information is collected via their friends Facebook application. The features regarding the safety and the security of the 9firnomation are also disabled by default.

  1. Will Facebook be able to have a successful business model without invading privacy? Explain your answer. Are there any measures Facebook could take to make this possible?

Information is the life of Facebook and without it; it won’t be able to successes in the market. The Facebook advertisement are the main source of its revenues and by serving the users information to the parties and advertisers it is maintaining its services and features. The cost of joining and doing business and partnership with Facebook is nil and that is why it is an attractive feature for the users and businesses alike. The Facebook needs more user’s data to survive the market competition because all it can earn through the use of the data and information relays on the services it provides to its users and how these services can be improved for the user in return. Hence, the critical challenge faced by the Facebook management is to create strategy that allows use of the user’s information but also avoids offending user’s privacy.

 

Positive indicators

  • The Facebook is one of the leading social media network and its growing every day
  • The Facebook interface is simple and easy to use which makes it accessible to more market and users
  • The look and feel of the Facebook attracts users of all groups to join in the features
  • It provides an opportunity to the advertisers to target the right customer market with their content and generate sales that in turn also help Facebook to generate its revenue. The demographic information and other data of the users are included in this process.
  • The Facebook itself is a gold mine of information providing a large sum of information of live users in the world of internet
  • The Facebook helps attract more users for other platforms and services.

Negative indicators

  • The privacy violation has created a large number of hostile users
  • The user’s tendency to click less on the advertisements will affect the advertiser’s choice of FB to attract customers.
  • The Facebook application has not been able to attract a large number of users. For instance, there are only 200 Facebook applications that have attracted only 10,000 users per day which is not promising when it comes to long term program.
  • The company still has to find a new way to turn the heavy traffic and tons of information to create sustainable and steady stream of revenue.
  • List of measures to make it possible for Facebook
  • The statement to be shared by the Facebook team with all the members that their information and data shared on their ages will be used by the Facebook Company
  • The users allowed either rejecting or accepting the offer and letting the Facebook Company use the information however it desires. This will protect the integrity of the company and its relationship with the users.
  • The users given the offer of application that can be put on their pages like interactive games and others free of cost and the users share their information in return for advertisements purpose.