301 certified writers online
- the ethical issues of Facebook, and the ethical dilemma the case presents;
- the relationship of the business model of Facebook to privacy;
- the weaknesses of Facebook’s privacy features and policies,
- the potential ability to change Facebook’s business model to one that does not violate privacy.
In theory, it is possible to apply the analysis provided in this paper to change the social network in a manner that would make it violate the privacy of its users to a considerably lower degree.
The company of Facebook operates in a manner which invades the privacy of their users, who post data on Facebook without being aware of the fact that this data is purposefully collected and then sold to a variety of companies and organizations for targeted advertisement and other purposes.
On the whole, it should be stressed that the business model of Facebook as it is used currently contradicts the privacy of its users (Afuah, 2014). The customers of Facebook include advertisement companies and other agencies who might be interested in gathering data about individuals to purposefully provide them with a tailored advertisement, make decisions about satisfying or denying their requests, and so on. On the whole, the users of Facebook are not its customers; they (and their data) are, in fact, the product which is being sold to the real clientele of the social network in question (Goodson, 2012).
Nevertheless, it might still be possible to better keep the privacy of the users of Facebook by providing them with the ability to adjust their privacy settings and not sharing the information that they wish to remain private with third parties desiring to purchase such information. It would also be possible to include settings that would forbid gathering information about a user from the accounts of their Facebook friends.
However, Facebook would lose a part of profits if they adjusted their policy in such a manner. Thus, in theory, the business model of Facebook can be used in a way that would not violate the privacy of the social network’s users, or at least violate it minimally; leaks of data would probably still be possible. But Facebook does not wish to operate in such a manner and lose a (considerable) part of their profits.
On the whole, it is possible to assume that Facebook is capable of having a successful business model without invading the privacy of its users (Afuah, 2014). Even though the users are the product being sold, it is still possible to “sell” them in a more ethical manner – for example, to simply use non-targeted advertisements on the social network. The fact that Facebook has a vast number of users allows for concluding that the social network would still make considerable profits if they used the website as space for an advertisement that is targeted at users to a minimal degree (for example, according to the region in which the users live).
Afuah, A. (2014). Business model innovation: Concepts, analysis, and cases. New York, NY: Routledge.
Facebook. (n.d.). Facebook – log in or sign up. Web.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Goodson, S. (2012). If you’re not paying for it, you become the product. Web.