a task every business needs to do as part of ethical decision making
January 31, 2018
Throughout weeks two, three, and four, a number of works have been read; throughout each piece, each author appealed to the reader in his/her own unique way. Identify a minimum of one but no more than three works read that had an influence on your selection of a topic for research paper. Briefly explain why the work(s) had an influence on you.  (one paragraph)
January 31, 2018

What economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic responsibilities does Facebook have to these various stakeholders?

Facebook Analysis Paper

BA 3102 Spring 2018

Stakeholder Analysis Paper #1

Facebook, Inc.

Background to Your Assignment:

Facebook collects a lot of data on its users, which has caused controversy in the past regarding how it uses it. Even with all the data it collects directly, it still wants more information about its users. So it buys it!

“Facebook Privacy: Social Network Buys Data From Third-Party Brokers to Fill in User Profiles” (International Business Times, 2016)

http://www.ibtimes.com/facebook-privacy-social-network-buys-data-third-party-brokers-fill-user-profiles-2466651

In 2014, Facebook actually experimented on users without their consent. After that came to light, Facebook announced it would set up its own version of a research review board, modeled on Institutional Review Boards found at universities to oversee any research that involves human subjects. Not all are convinced.

“Facebook’s Research Ethics Board Needs to Stay Far Away From Facebook” (Wired.com, 2016)

https://www.wired.com/2016/06/facebooks-research-ethics-board-needs-stay-far-away-facebook/

“Facebook has a new process for discussing ethics. But is it ethical?” (The Guardian, 2016)

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jun/17/facebook-ethics-but-is-it-ethical

More recently, Facebook has admitted to using ethnicity as a sorting tool for marketing advertisements. This may be illegal under fair housing laws and federal discrimination laws, but even if it is not, it has a whole bunch of people pretty mad about it.

“Update: Is Facebook Enabling Advertisers to Discriminate by Race?” (Fortune, 2016)

http://fortune.com/2016/10/28/facebook-ad-propublica-race/

Of course, it also faces a similar dilemma to that faced by Apple last year with the FBI: increasing government requests regarding users’ private information from countries all over the world!

“Facebook admits it gave personal details of over 6,000 users to the British government” (International Business Times, 2016)

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/facebook-admits-it-gave-personal-details-over-6000-users-british-government-1598689

And despite publicly declaring that it would increase its employee diversity with regards to race and gender, Facebook didn’t.

“Facebook’s Hiring Process Hinders its Effort to Create a Diverse Workforce” (Bloomberg, 2017).

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-09/facebook-s-hiring-process-hinders-its-effort-to-create-a-diverse-workforce

All in all, 2016 was a rough year for Facebook.

“2016: The Year Facebook became the Bad Guy” (The Guardian, 2016)

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/12/facebook-2016-problems-fake-news-censorship

And now, the European Commission has its eye on Facebook’s practices …

“WhatsApp, Facebook, and Google face tough new privacy rules under EC directive” (The Guardian, 2017)

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jan/10/whatsapp-facebook-google-privacy-rules-ec-european-directive

“Google, Facebook face tighter EU grip with new privacy law” (Bloomberg Technology, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-10/google-facebook-face-tighter-eu-grip-with-new-privacy-law-ixrikusj

Yet, despite these ethical issues and more plaguing Facebook, the company is undeniably successful financially – it is projected to make over $10 billion in 2017.

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2017/01/10/facebook-inc-profits-will-likely-exceed-10-billion-in-2017.html

Your Assignment:

CEO Mark Zuckerberg faces ethical dilemmas on several levels. He needs a plan to deal with these ethical issues going forward. Your task is to write him a memorandum (memo format) addressing the following questions:

1) Who are Facebook’s stakeholders and what are their stakes?

2) What attributes do these various stakeholders hold? Describe and prioritize these stakeholders for Facebook – be sure to explain and justify your prioritization.

3) What economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic responsibilities does Facebook have to these various stakeholders?

4) What actions should Facebook take with each stakeholder? Propose a plan to Mr. Zuckerberg, linking your recommendations to your previous analysis. Your recommended plan should address how Facebook should make business decisions about the ethical problems mentioned and those likely to arise in the future.

Helpful Info:

You do not need to use all of the above-cited articles in your paper; they are there mainly to help you fully understand the dilemmas confronting Facebook. Don’t forget to use your course content – if you could have written this paper on the first day of our class the same way, you aren’t incorporating enough course concepts/content! The rubric for this paper is attached to the end of this assignment sheet for your reference.

Please cite any references you use as you use them throughout your paper (through footnotes or parentheses) and write a References section at the end. Use any citation style that would allow me to locate the source itself – if you are not sure how to cite something, just use your best judgment.

Other than using memorandum format, any other formatting choices are your own – double spaced/single spaced, font, margins, etc. Feel free to use tables or figures if they help you make your points. There is no length requirement as length itself is irrelevant; just be sure to check the prompt and the rubric to make sure that you have fully completed the assignment.

When you’re done, submit to Canvas. Can’t wait to read your analysis and recommendations to Mark Z.!

Here’s the rubric:

BA 3102: Business, Society and Ethics Rubric for Facebook Analysis #1

Criteria

Unsatisfactory = 1,2 / Satisfactory = 3,4 / Excellent = 5

Level 1 =

4 pts.

Level 2 =

8 pts.

Level 3 =

12 pts.

Level 4 =

16 pts.

Level 5 =

20 pts.

Total

Identifies Stakeholders

Identification of relevant stakeholders is sparse or missing.

Identifies some of the relevant stakeholders in a given problem/case. Some important stakeholders are missing.

Identifies most of the relevant stakeholders in a given problem/case. Most important stakeholders are identified.

Completely identifies all immediately relevant stakeholders; misses some relevant but tangential stakeholders.

Completely and thoughtfully identifies all relevant and important stakeholders in a given problem/case.

Supports Arguments

Inconsistent or lacking in articulation of why identified stakeholders are relevant to the problem.

Some important points are missing and/or support for inclusion of stakeholders lacks substantial explanation.

Able to support inclusion of stakeholders with adequate explanation and few logical fallacies.

Able to support inclusion of stakeholders with adequate explanation but does not fully capture all stakeholder interests at hand.

Able to support inclusion of stakeholders with a substantial amount of explanation and no logical fallacies.

Integrates Course Concepts

Very few course concepts integrated.

Mentions some course concepts, however, with some inaccuracies and/or little explanation.

Integrates some course concepts into the analysis but does not explain or apply them thoroughly.

Integrates course concepts fairly well, with some explanation and/or application to the case.

Integrates course concepts consistently and accurately.

Connects Analysis to Recommended Actions

Analysis doesn’t inform or lead to recommended actions.

Analysis somewhat informs recommended actions, but linkages are not always clear.

Analysis somewhat informs recommended actions, but recommendations and/or linkages to them are not thoroughly explained.

Analysis suggests recommended actions but recommendations or linkages to them are not thoroughly explained.

Analysis directly informs and leads to recommended actions with thorough justification and explanation.

Structure & Language

Errors are so numerous that they greatly obscure meaning.

Errors are so numerous that they obscure meaning.

Occasional errors in writing, but they don’t represent a major distraction.

Writing is free or almost free of errors.

Writing is organized, clear, and free or almost free of errors.

Total Score

(Possible 100)

 

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