Ethics Paper on Facebook Beacon

1979 Words Nov 18th, 2012 8 Pages
Facebook began in February 2004. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his collegiate comrades at Harvard University. Rapidly expanding, Facebook’s exponential growth led to its membership growing to over one billion users, as of September 2012. One would imagine that with such growth would come more opportunities for challenges to arise: one of these challenges being users and their rights to privacy. As part of Facebook’s advertising system, their primary means of generating revenue, Beacon sent data from other companies and websites to Facebook. Following a lawsuit, Beacon then changed to accommodate these requests. On December 5, 2007, Facebook declared it would allow users to choose not to participate in Beacon in
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They had to formulate a way to keep their partners, who used Beacon to promote their businesses, while still maintaining a sensible amount of privacy for its users. (McCarthy, 2007) It was this right to choose privacy that enabled Facebook to differentiate itself from other social media giants, such as MySpace, in the first place. How Facebook chose to come to a resolution would affect many of the stakeholders in the company. The primary stakeholders that would be affected by this decision would be the Facebook Company, who would want to still generate revenue while still providing this free service for its users, and its users, who wanted to ensure the privacy of their profiles. Other stakeholders would include advertising companies, who would want to reach the vast amount of Facebook users and increase the visibility of their brand. Other social media sites would be stakeholders, as well, because they could gain the users that Facebook would lose if they did not fix the dilemma, and generate profits as an end result. (Phillips, 2007)
Possible Alternatives When approaching a solution to this ethical dilemma, Facebook had a couple alternative decisions they could make. They could leave the Beacon system as it was, they could change the Beacon feature to accommodate requests, or they could delete the feature all together.

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