Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ethics in Social Media

One important policy issue concerning the Internet is the broad, delicate and controversial issue of blogger ethics and the more specific offshoot of disclosure. Should online writers have to disclose that they are endorsing a product or a celebrity for compensation? The blogosphere is an area of dynamic communication and of vast value for PR practitioners, bloggers and even everyday consumers. For example, brands are showering bloggers & online "influencers" with money, access and products etc.

But as of yet, there are no hard and fast standards for communicating and sharing information on the Internet. Authors and PR 2.0 advocates Solis and Breakenridge posit that this is a difficult topic because "the fuel that powers the continued evolution of Social Media is the raw and untamed voices of the people." But these virtual voices can cross over into the real world with real consequences, and the Federal Trade Commission may be doing something about it.

According to The Daily Beast , The FTCs new guidelines concerning disclosure will go online December 1st and breaking any of the new rules concerning the disclosure of who bloggers etc. work for, can result in fines of up to $11,000. Can the Internet be regulated you may ask? Good question. But some good information and relevant discussions concerning this topic can be found at TechCrunch. This will continue to be a heated discussion for time to come, as Social Media becomes even more widespread.

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