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What is Ethical in a Digital World?


The FTC, which can be compared to the “police” for the advertising industry, updated guidelines which concerned ethical “digital disclosure” in relation to bloggers and digital marketers (Bruell). The importance that this holds is how lately the FTC has started to become more and more involved in the surveillance of PR agencies, especially in digital pretenses.

What the FTC is trying to enforce allocates from the overall “closer alignment between law and ethical communication” (Bruell). Furthermore, violations come from that of which is “deceptive to consumers and what they understand” (Bruell).

Through the enforcement of these guidelines updated by the FTC, PR firms are slowly but surely getting a better reputation since people see that they are not trying to scam them, but instead just inform them on something they may at some point want to purchase.

With this in mind, ethics is something extremely important to the PR world, especially in the digitally evolving world (i.e, Instagram, Facebook, Blogger, online reviews). In Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics, the text talks about how public relations organizations have began to endorse guidelines that speak specifically for writing things that may be “deceptive to consumers” and thus cause confusion to what a consumer “understands.” Specifically, guidelines such as these below are outlined in the text which hold relevance to the underlying issue of violations that can arise from deceptiveness and confusion when publishing online or in a digital sense:

  • “The owners of blogs, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts must be clearly identified and disclosed. In other words, you can’t use your name to establish a fake blog to promote a product or cause when the actual source/owner is the client or employer” (Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics).
  • “The source of any material must be clearly identified. Any attempt to mislead or deceive the blogger or the intended audience is considered unethical” (Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics).
  • “You must disclose your affiliation with a client or employer in any chat room postings, in which you are promoting and publicizing a product or service” (Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics).

Personally, i found this article enjoyable because i have seen companies use fake names or profiles when writing reviews or promoting a product online to receive more sales. You mostly see this happen on websites such as Amazon, Ebay, etc.. Shopping on Amazon, quite frequently since i am a college student, i do buy products based off of reviews. I don’t think i would purchase a product if it was not thoroughly reviewed and more than half of the reviews were positive about the product or the company’s services. I like the fact that the FTC is beginning to take more of an upper hand when dealing with the issues concerning false reviews and people lying about being associated with a company when publishing “amazing reviews” thus “deceiving” consumers or even confusing consumers on what to believe is either true or false in relation to a product or companies services.

Photo Sources: http://www.cyberalert.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/PR-ethics-road-sign.jpg http://www.nasw-michigan.org/resource/resmgr/Ethics/Ethical-Legal-Sign.jpg
Website Source: http://www.prweek.com/article/1264654/ethicscom




2 comments on “What is Ethical in a Digital World?

  1. Taylor Este
    February 3, 2016

    I really enjoyed your post Marie! I completely agree with your opinion on FTC becoming more strict with ethical issues. I think that this will greatly improve the trust that customers have while reading reviews since they will know that they are not fake posts. This will continue to improve the relationship between companies and their customers.


  2. empa94
    February 7, 2016

    I also enjoy reading yo blog, I like the information provided and considered very interesting the article. I also agree with your opinion of buying a product based on reviews even though they can sometimes be false. A Taylor also mention in her comment reviews will greatly improve the trust that customers have while buy product.


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This entry was posted on February 2, 2016 by in Uncategorized.

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