Social Media Innovation by Prof. Johnson


Ethical Considerations in Social Media, Public Opinion and Fake Online Identities

There’s an interesting commentary by Erik Sherman at bNet called So, Why Does the Air Force Want Hundreds of Fake Online Identities on Social Media?

Here’s the start of the post:

Bad enough that spammers are creating fake Facebook accounts that acquire connections with unsuspecting people, then inundate them with crap. Now, though, the U.S. military is looking for software and services to manage upwards of 500 fake online personas designed to interact with social media, presumably including such sites as Facebook and Twitter. Last year, the U.S. Air Force created the document, which resides in the federal government’s contract database:

Head on over there and read the whole thing.

Discussion Question

Social media, like other information outlets, can undoubtedly influence public opinion. What ethical considerations do you think governments and corporations should have when attempting to influence others? Does creating fake online personas go too far? Does it matter if the government or a corporate does it? Does it matter if the target is US citizens or “foreign foes”?

Task 7 Completion Criteria (10 points)

Post a comment below with a link to your well-reasoned post detailing your thoughts on this discussion topic.