Using Social Media Listening Techniques to Discredit Competitor
The rapid growth in internet usage and internet access in computers, and smartphones have energized the growth of social media (Felix, Rauschnabel, & Hinsch, 2017). The mass reach has created considerable interest for business organizations to utilize social media to maintain a competitive advantage. Several social media listening tools gives companies with all needed insight like the language of the target audience, social media profiles, influencers, competitor social media posts, location, and activities. Although tracking competitor activity and utilizing their data is vital for any business company the exercise evokes ethical issues. According to Wang and Kim, (2017) society is not equipped to analyze or measure the truthfulness of company information either from the company or its competitors because the data usually emanates from an unknown author. Social media information regarding a particular brand or company could lead to legal challenges especially when a competitor relays such data.Social Media Listening Techniques presents numerous challenges including legal and ethical issues related to privacy, anonymization, and consent. Social media platforms like Facebook are gaining popularity for collecting competitor data and using the information to discredit the organization. As with other types of gathering data, the use of social broad casting listening techniques presents some vital ethical issues.
Social Media Consent and Privacy
A significant apprehension with social media data is the limit at which the data should be seen as private or public data. Among the key arguments is the view that social media users have all accepted some set of terms and conditions for every social media channel which discloses the ability of their data being accessed by third parties, including market researchers (Grimmelmann, 2015). According to Grimmelmann (2015), if the social media users have assented to these clauses it, therefore, means their data is no longer private. Evaluating ethical issues should not be ignored merely because the information seems public. Discrediting your competitor by publishing information the company wished to hide undermines the company’s right to privacy. Additionally, it could be considered as a fraud because justified ways of social media listening techniques might be challenging to realize. An important question should always be how much the action justifies the means. Understanding the social interests and placing central responsibility to particular researchers may improve the reliability of the data was collected. Sharing competitor data may present legal challenges which could severely impact on company shareholders. When using social media data researches need to clearly draft the purpose of research and the meaning of the data analyzed (Grimmelmann, 2015). For example, Twitter posts by business organizations do not take the face value, which warrants a varying ethical level. It would thus be unethical to discredit the competitor based on the social media data despite the benefits.
Ethical Decision Making and Stakeholders effects
Moral judgment is related to the creation and making evaluations on a possible solution to ethical matters that have moral implication (Grimmelmann, 2015). An ethical decision needs reasoning through the entire likely options and the potential impacts to determine the most ethically sound decision. Moral awareness is the first step towards attempting to make an ethical decision. Understanding how competitor data may ultimately harm the other company requires moral judgment. According to Hosmer’s theory when one has identified the moral issue, the noble intention now emerges, and this involves making a commitment to the moral value (Bell, Dyck, & Neubert, 2017). For example, the solutions whether to discredit competition using data collected may present two choices, one which will result in improved company revenue and a decision which is morally right. The stockholders of the company might prefer actions that improve their company worth, and such a step will require determination and courage to implement the ethical decision.
In addition to understanding, the legal implications of discrediting competitors using unverified data may save the company stockholders from unnecessary losses. Although individuals may possess strong ethical judgment skills, a lack of moral sensitivity may prevent one from understanding a moral issue. The customers play an integral wrong in the success of any business activity; questions on how our clients will react after learning that we acted morally wrong may adversely affect the company. When making an ethical decision, the interest of every stakeholder is essential. Although a business leader is answerable to the company stockholders making morally sound decisions is plays a significant role in the long term company success (Bell, Dyck, & Neubert, 2017). The company can enjoy massive revenue in the short run by discrediting competitors. However, legal implications and customer empathy to the competitor could adversely affect the business in the long term.
Social Media Listening Techniques presents numerous challenges including legal and ethical issues related to privacy, anonymization, and consent. Social media platforms like Facebook are gaining popularity for collecting competitor data and using the information to discredit the organization. Although individuals may possess strong ethical judgment skills, a lack of moral sensitivity may prevent one from understanding a moral issue. The stockholders and various company stakeholders might have varying interests in a company, and an ethical decision step will require determination and courage to implement.
Bell, G., Dyck, B., & Neubert, J. (2017). Ethical leadership, virtue theory, and generic strategies. Radical Thoughts on Ethical Leadership, ., 26(2),100-113.
Felix, R., Rauschnabel, A., & Hinsch, C. (2017). Elements of strategic social media marketing: A holistic framework. Journal of Business Research, 70,118-126.
Grimmelmann, J. (2015). The law and ethics of experiments on social media users. Colo. Tech. LJ, 13, 219.
Wang, Z., & Kim, G. (2017). Can social media marketing improve customer relationship capabilities and firm performance? Dynamic capability perspective. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 39, 15-26.