Online community ethics

Are you on Facebook? Who isn’t these days? Here’s a question about using Facebook as an extension of work or classroom learning. Is it ethical to force people (over whom you have some power & authority) to use Facebook, a proprietary platform that tracks users & sells their data to third parties?

I ask this question to organizational community managers, teachers, professors and even companies. For example, if I want to interact with our national public broadcaster, it seems the preferred venue is “The Facebook”. Last December I put my Facebook account into hibernation (you cannot actually delete your Facebook profile). Since then, I have had many offers to join groups or engage in communities on the platform, all assuming that, of course, I use Facebook.

For those of us who understand these technologies, are we doing a disservice by not promoting a free & open web? People learn most from modelling the behaviour of their peers. For those of us who have been online for some time now, what kind of tacit examples are we providing?

Educators and facilitators of organizational learning need to have a conversation about the open web and understand the implications of their actions. It is more than just owning our data, it’s having some control over our collective digital future.

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