With the rise of social media and instant messaging culture, it has become easy to post anything without considering the consequences of Digital Marketing Ethics.
It’s increasingly important for every digital marketer to become more conscious of their messaging style, content creation strategy and its impact on society as a whole. This includes reflecting upon reasons behind business conduct whilst online.
Violating Children’s Privacy Laws
According to Mignon Reyneke an Associate Professor at the UCT Graduate School of Business:
YouTube came under fire recently for violating children’s privacy laws, specifically by collecting data from children under the age of 13. Following investigation by the American Federal Trade Commission, YouTube now plans to end its practice of using targeted adverts on videos that children are more likely to watch.
The notion of privacy violation, especially when children are involved, is shocking, and it forces us to examine how — and why — digital marketing works and what role the marketer plays in this.
Ethics for Digital Success
Dave Yardley, author of the book ‘Practical Consultancy Ethics’ argues that ” Ethics must no longer be thought of as just a marketing tool that has no real influence on the culture of digital organisations, but instead, represent a fundamental set of behaviours that should be exhibited by all those who have a vested interest in digital transformation. If there was ever a need for ethical principles for digital transformation, it must surely be now.”
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)
Mimi Kalinda states that “We are in the midst of The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) – aptly named a “revolution”, for by its nature, it brings about radical change and forcibly establishes a new way of life. Change is not only good – it’s unavoidable. However, it doesn’t come without challenges.”
Another critical ethical issue is equality. 4IR and Ethics in Fourth Industrial Revolution has improved income levels and the quality of life for people (Huizingh, 2011).
Unfortunately, the economic benefits of 4IR are concentrated on just a small group of people, thereby increasing inequality. There is, therefore, an urgent need to ensure that technologists embrace a higher commitment to a more inclusive development and equitable growth for all people. Further, the benefits of new technologies must be evenly distributed across all demographic groups, shares Nico Daniel Smit from the University of Johannesburg.
Data Privacy and Algorithmic bias
Deloitte Global gives us a few examples of ethical “missteps” by companies abound in the media these days. One issue highlighted in the news regularly is that of data privacy, and it has left consumers understandably worried about how their data is captured, saved, and used. Another emerging threat is algorithmic bias, where biased data manifests itself in biased recommendations, but we’re yet to fully understand the ramifications of algorithmic bias.
Digital marketers are able to target specific people with certain campaigns. This means that brands need to ensure that they target the right people for the right reasons.
Let’s continue talking
With the rise of technological advancement on the African continent and international investment in developing mother continent powered ‘digital marketing momentum’ – ethics and what this may mean for African audiences is a conversation digital marketers, businesses, politicians, civil society should be spearheading.
IIDM puts forth the energy, devotion, and strength to make Digital Skills and the principles of Digital Marketing available and accessible to anyone and everyone who needs to develop their marketing skills in the digital age.
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