Ethical social media

By Jason Tseng

Social media is penetrating our life because most of the people are checking media anywhere anytime. In the present, almost everyone will check their social media at least once every day. Moreover, some people might update their story and post every single day. The more users in the social media platform, the more advertising will be on the platform too. But, we need thinking about some of the users in the social media are underage teenagers. This phenomenon extends to a bigger ethical issue to society.

Social media should be a platform to share your own happiness and connect with your friends instead of a place for business use. Especially, lots of alcohol and cigarette company publish their advertisement on the social media. This makes the content over expose to the underage teenagers, and cause some ethical issue.

Recently, the tobacco industry is reaching on Social Media. The New York Times published an article “Big Tobacco’s Global Reach on Social Media” mentioned Tobacco’s industry is trying to hook the new generations of smokers via social media. They believe social media is the quickest way to approach the new generations. Whereby, I did some research about the tobacco industry and mostly focus on JUUL. JUUL is the most popular e-cigarette company in the United States. JUUL had a large number of followers on their social media, and their Instagram connected not only lots of new generation smokers but also the underage teenagers. At the end, JUUL delete their social media to prevent the underage smoking issue.

Social media is powerful, and it can bring a big issue to society. Whereby, we all need to use it in the right way and take the responsibility to what we post and what comment on social media. This can make social media give a positive influence to the audiences.

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This Article Has 7 Comments
  1. Tom Bridger says:

    This is an interesting topic to look at. I wasn’t aware of JUUL’s presence on social media, or that they had ultimately taken down their accounts. To me, this touches on an even larger issue which is to what degree social media platforms can control their users. Twitter is currently in a lot of hot water regarding their inability to stop threats, bullying, and unwanted posts/comments. However, Twitter currently operates on the basis of only dealing with complaints that are brought up by the person being harassed, and even those claims are put in a wait list that are dealt with based on severity. Twitter has no right to delete JUUL’s account for instance, so the onus is pushed to the consumers to stop companies like this from advertising to children on social media.

  2. TJ McCourt says:

    I think there are a lot of positives about social media, as well as negatives. I agree that social media should be a platform where you can share your happiness, but reality is that there are a lot of bad sides to social media. I think JUUL deleting their Instagram account is very smart on their end. To me, that shows that of course they want to sell their product but they do care about people’s health.

  3. Hannah Blair says:

    I think that the topic you chose is interesting, and I have definitely noticed the popularity around JUULing. The constant advertisements for these products on social media definitely raises ethical concerns, especially for underage social media users. I think that it was smart of JULL to delete their social media in the end because this issue does have high stakes. I also think it’s wrong of them to advertise to underage people to get them hooked and promote bad health, so I think that deleting the social media was the best solution to this issue.

  4. Taylor Kissinger says:

    Hi Jason,

    I think that it’s very important for brands to keep in mind what audiences their advertisements could be reaching on social media. For this reason, it’s important for social media platforms to have age restrictions, but it’s also easy for kids to lie about their age to get access to a site. I think that teenagers are especially susceptible to internalizing messages that are harmful to their health. JUUL made the right decision to take down their social media pages.

  5. Daymon Standridge says:

    Jason,

    This is an interesting topic. I had not considered the use of ads for tobacco and alcohol being pushed onto minors. I also did not know that JUUL having such a large social following. I think there is a very fine line when it comes to advertisers sponsoring posts on social media. They will continue to do it because when it works, it works well. However, maybe they should consider restricting their ads when it comes to minors who are using social media.

  6. Ryan Robledo says:

    I find this post extremely fascinating because I’ve always thought about how social media can always boost engagement and much more for a business but you always forget about the companies that use social media for products that people probably shouldn’t have. It brings up an interesting topic about what kind of companies can or should have a social media account and whether them engaging with fans online is ethical or not. I personally believe that it depends on the company, like tobacco companies and alcohol companies probably shouldn’t be promoting or engaging on social media but should only use it as an announcements page or what not. It’s hard to truly say what companies should be able to engage on social media or not but the further we get into the age of social media the more clear the guidelines of it will be.

  7. Bodie Crist says:

    Hey Jason!

    I think this is definitely the type of conversations that we need to be having as we look toward the future of social media and advertising. As I mentioned in another blog comment, the power of parasocial interactions and persuasive influencer production recommendations is already incredibly powerful when it comes to manipulating people, especially when it comes to minors. Adding a controlled product into the mix only makes things even more complicated.

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