Topic 4: Ethical or not?

What can Social Media do?

Social Media is the use of electronic devices to create, share or exchange information, Ideas, pictures and videos (CPS)

A clearer description of the function of the social medias is shown below:


[Source: Whatis, Photo by me] 

However, the purpose of social media has caused it dangerous to “execute its purpose”. From the case of Justine Saccos, nothing is considered “small” once it is published online. Today, social media has become a powerful tool for spreading information. It reaches faster and farther than any communication method to date, including “regular news outlets” (life as of late).

How companies made use of Social Media in their marketing?

Firstly, we will consider the what is ethnical for company to carry out the marketing strategies. Ethics is a system of Moral principles, affecting how people make decisions and lead their lives. It is concerned with what is good for the individual and society. One “thinks ethically” when they have thoughts to something beyond themselves.

Below shows the example of a marketing’s responsibility on sharing information.



One point that concerns me is “Marketers should be transparent about who they pay to endorse their products” Companies learnt the benefits of social media in sharing information and hence, adopt the use of Influencer marketing to market their products.

What is influencer marketing?


[Source: Famebit]

Influencers are approached by companies to do paid advertorial and engage in campaign that impact sales. 69% of the marketers consider this strategy effective. Human’s brain tends to make decisions based on emotion, which comes into effect when dealing with YouTube personalities (ViewReviews). Companies are making use of consumer’s trust on the digital influencers to make decisions. As influencers are paid to complete the task, they will be compelled to provide the desired outcome – biases influencers to be more positive about their review (Adrian Segar).





It is beneficial to the company, but is it the same for consumers? Are companies “thinking ethically” for their consumers?

What should companies do?

There are companies who exercise unbiased reviews from influencer marketing. One example will be Sephora. Instead of reaching out to influencers for review, Sephora sends free samples to influential individual to try their products. In this way, Sephora gives influencer the freedom they need to be unbiased and individual who genuinely love their product will leave an honest product experience which will aid other consumer’s decision.

True influencer marketing is about content and storytelling, not reviews. (Collective Bias Cited in Influencer marketing)

(396 words)


BBC (2009) Ethics – introduction to ethics: Ethics: A general introduction. Available at: (Accessed: 11 November 2016).

Brooks, S. (2013) The Positives of social media: Spread of information. Available at: 11 November 2016).

Drees, R. (2016) What is Influencer marketing on Youtube. Available at: (Accessed: 11 November 2016).

Friedman, L. (2016) 5 examples of Influencer marketing done right. Available at: (Accessed: 11 November 2016).

Guidelines on prosecuting cases involving communications sent via social media (2016) Available at: 11 November 2016).

Ronson, J. (2015) How One stupid Tweet blew up Justine Sacco’s life. Available at: 11 November 2016).

Segar, A. (2016) Is paid influencer marketing ethical in the event industry? Available at: (Accessed: 11 November 2016).

Wigmore, I. (2016) What is social media? – definition from WhatIs.Com. Available at: (Accessed: 11 November 2016).



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6 Responses to Topic 4: Ethical or not?

  1. Karise says:

    Hello Wan Sia! After reading your post I have some views and questions in regards to unbiased reviews. I have some reservations about free samples. I do agree that if influencers (e.g. bloggers) are not paid they have the freedom of speech. However, is that necessarily true? If an influencer receives free samples of products (possibly of something he/she really likes since they were sent to them!), wouldn’t they want the company to send them more in the future by saying nice things about the products they are about to review? Unless the influencer has done many unpaid reviews that did not praise all of the products, I would be more convinced! Perhaps video reviews are more difficult to fake and should be used instead of blogging. Would like to know what are your thoughts?


  2. beatricehan says:

    Hello Wansia!

    I liked your insightful read on influencer marketing as it is extremely common nowadays on Youtube videos, blogs and even Instagram! I would love to see examples of influencer marketing in the context of Singapore as it would be relatable. In my opinion, I feel that to consumers, as long as it from a famous influencer, there will definitely be some doubts as we do not know if they are paid to say good reviews about the product or it is their honest opinion. They could claim the latter but we might not be convinced. For the example of Sephora, do you think influencers are being obliged to post something up for them just because they sent them free samples or do you think it is based on the free will of the influencers whether they want to post a review on it? Would love to hear your thoughts, thank you!

    With regards,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Reflection: Social Media Ethical Issues – CONNECTED.

  4. Pingback: Topic 4: Reflective Summary – Beatrice Han

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