Facebook and Ethical Theory Analysis (Case Study) [WLOs: 1, 2] [CLOs: 1, 3, 5]
Prior to beginning work on this discussion forum, read Chapter 5: Corporate Social Responsibility in Hartman et al. (2021). In addition, you may wish to
review Chapter 25 in A Companion to Business Ethics (Frederick, 1999), What Aristotle Can Teach Firms About CSR (Links to an external site.) (Chun, 2016),
Effect of Exposure to Business Ethics Courses on Students’ Perceptions of the Linkage Between Ethics Education and Corporate Social Responsibility (Links
to an external site.) (Ugwuozor & Otu, 2020), and Corporate Social Responsibility in the Light of Kant’s Categorical Imperative (Links to an external site.)
All organizations have some level of social responsibilities. For example, leaders must ensure that organizational practices comply with the law, including
fulfilling contractual responsibilities to their customers and business partners. Organizations as steered by their leaders have a responsibility to produce
goods and services that serve society in some way, which helps keep them economically healthy and viable. But do organizations and their leaders have
responsibilities that go beyond producing valuable goods and services within the bounds of the law? What ethical responsibilities do organizations and their
leaders have to society, if any?
In Hartman et al. (2021), review the case of Facebook (pp. 140–142). As a technology platform, Facebook’s primary source of revenue is targeted
advertising, which benefits greatly from acquired user data for directly messaging audiences. In 2018 the global company was very profitable but also faced
several challenges, including user concern about their privacy and untrustworthy content being spread on the platform. However, if Facebook were to
safeguard its users’ data to be more private, the company would be less attractive to advertisers. Additionally, if Facebook were to moderate and regulate the
content on its platform, it would alienate certain users. So how should Facebook address concerns about privacy and trustworthiness, which are coming not
only from users but also from some shareholders, advertisers, and members of society? Consider Facebook’s social responsibility. Should the company be
responsible for its impact on world events and the spread of fake news? On the other hand, does it have a responsibility not to censor speech and user
content? And is Facebook breaching the trust of its customers when user data is exploited? Given competing interests and sometimes opposing aims, what
stakeholders should be served?
In an initial post of at least 400 words, citing at least two scholarly, peer-reviewed resources, address the following:
Considering both the economic model and the stakeholder model of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), how should Facebook address the concerns
about privacy and trustworthiness? Explain your answer while also demonstrating your understanding of the different models of CSR.
Applying utilitarianism, deontology, or virtue ethics, how would you explain your answer to Facebook’s responsibilities about privacy and trustworthiness as
ethical? Explain your answer while also demonstrating your understanding of the specific and relevant aspects of the ethical theory you apply. You should
choose the ethical theory carefully and build the strongest argument you can.
Considering your responses to the above questions, what was Facebook’s responsibility in the situation described? How far and wide was the scope of this
responsibility? For example, what people deserved to benefit from Facebook’s platform? And who didn’t deserve to benefit, if anyone? Your answers should
correspond and support your arguments about the models of CSR and the application of your ethical theory. In this part of your post, be sure to continue
highlighting specific aspects of the ethical theory you are applying and how it relates to the details of Facebook’s case.