Topic 4: Reflection

Reflecting on Topic 4, I was able to explore some of the ethical dangers of using social media, significantly looking at young people or “the Net Generation” (Tapscott, 2014) using it for educational purposes.

Sharon’s post drew my attention by the title that privacy on the internet is a luxury, and regardless of whether we feel that we should have privacy online, nevertheless, it can’t be provided. From my comment and the subsequent discussion, I was able to learn about the different ways that we are supported online. I was unaware of the numerous acting bodies in both the UK, such as the GCHQ, and the US that actively monitor online activity. From learning this, I felt a stronger sense of security for myself that potentially criminal behaviour is monitored but I also understood the title of the blog post more, since there is an element that we are always being watched.

From reading Catherine’s post, I was able to see the ethical dangers of social media from a very different perspective, such as looking at people who are public figures. It is a consistent topic that individuals in the public eye are more susceptible to receiving hate, on a large scale and quite frequently.

“Many high profile women and men have been compelled to leave Twitter after suffering abuse at the hands of trolls” (Cohen, 2014).

Cases such as that of Jo Cox demonstrate that freedom of speech online, even for business and educational purposes, carry tragic risks.

In Topic 3, I looked at mainly the positive aspects of social media as an opportunity for recruitment. However, researching Topic 4 through sources, reading the posts of my peers and engaging in discussions, has provided me with a more informed view of its associated risks.

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Cohen, C., (2014, November 18). Twitter trolls: The celebrities who’ve been driven off social media by abuse. The Telegraph. [Accessed: 2 April 2017]

Tapscott, D., (2014, October 30). Five Ways Talent Management Must Change. World Economic Forum. [Accessed: 7 April 2017]

My comments:

Images & Video: self-produced


Topic 4: Ethics of Social Networks

There are numerous ethically challenging aspects of social media use that we, as internet users, should be concerned about while we are active online. Some of the ethical issues, to name a few, are anonymity, cyberbullying, the monitoring of current or future employees and identity theft. Cyberbullying in one of its forms was explored briefly in Topic 3, in the case of Justine Sacco (Ronson, 2015) where we explored whether the “right to free speech” (The Guardian, 2014) was should be compromised to prevent social media posts being offensive. In this topic, we will look into the evolving problem of identity theft for young people.

Identity theft is the act of wrongfully using someone’s personal information, especially in a way that is fraudulent (US Department of Justice, 2017). Online identity theft refers to the theft of a person’s personal information by online means, for example obtaining personal information from social media. Since the internet is relatively new, so is the problem of online identity theft and fraud. It is an issue that is also explored in the MTV show Catfish (2012). The show is mainly aimed at exposing some of the deceitful relationships and friendships that can ensue online. However, the underlying message is to show that there are risks of your online identity being used fraudulently and also of someone using a false identity to manipulate you, especially on social networks.

Figure 1: the trailer for Catfish: The TV Show 

Potential identity theft is a big problem for young people who are avid users of social media, not solely for entertainment purposes but also for educational use. Liu (2010) argues that social media can be used as a tool, not only for learning but also for teaching. Here are some examples of how social media can be used in an educational arena:

Figure 2: Video on social media and how it is used for educational purposes

Arguably, the burgeoning problem of identity theft online could become more of a problem worldwide since the digital divide is weakening.


Figure 3: Infographic showing some facts on the digital divide

More people are gaining internet access, and while these developments present more opportunity for positive interaction, they also create a wider space of possibility for young people’s information to be taken advantage of.

With all this in mind, the question is: who is responsible for the protection of our information online. Glenn Greenwald (2014) highlights that privacy is important, which is necessary on all social media accounts, not just if you have something to hide. Who is protecting us online?


Figure 4: Infographic showing some points to consider of who is responsible for dealing with online identity theft

Word Count: 394


BI Intelligence (2016, August 5) 99% of young British people use social media every week. Business Insider. [Accessed: 24 March 2017]

Compaine, B. M. (2001). The digital divide: Facing a crisis or creating a myth?. Mit Press.

Chaffey, D., (2017, February 27) Global social media research summary 2017. Smart Insights. [Accessed: 24 March 2017]

Edudemic (2015, January 12) How to Use Social Media as a Learning Tool. [Accessed: 24 March 2017]

Greenwald, G., (2014) Why privacy matters. Ted Talks. [Accessed: 26 March 2017]

Kelion, L., (2013, October 7) UK jumps up internet scoreboard as digital divide grows. BBC News. [Accessed: 24 March 2017]

Kleinman, Z., (2015, March 5) Who’s that girl? The curious case of Leah Palmer. BBC News. [Accessed: 24 March 2017]

Liu, Y. (2010). Social media tools as a learning resource. Journal of Educational Technology Development and Exchange3(1)

The Guardian (2014, January 24) Twitter abuse: easy on the messenger. [Accessed: 24 March 2017]

The United States Department of Justice (2017, February 7) Identity Theft. [Accessed: 25 March 2017]

Ronson, J., (2015, February 12) How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life. NY Times. [Accessed: 12 March 2017]

Wakefield, J., (2016, June 15) Social media ‘outstrips TV’ as news source for young people. BBC News. [Accessed: 24 March 2017]

Figure 1: [Max Joseph] (2012, October 26) CATFISH: THE TV SHOW TRAILER. (Video File) [Accessed: 24 March 2017]

Featured image & Figures 2-4: Self produced