Article 3 : Is it ethical for an ethical company to advertise on social medias ? Aka the social dilemma

 Is it ethical for an ethical company to advertise on social medias?

By now we all know that, despite our addiction and love for Instagram, Facebook and co, the social medias are meant to exploit our data with commercial (or sometimes worst, political!) aims. They are not free products as the Netflix documentary reminded, the real product – object of transactions between companies – is us, through our personal data.

As informed adults, we might accept their pro and cons and try to take the best out of them while we stay vigilant on their dark side. But what about our kids or more vulnerable adults? In the case of our little ones, their exposed little brains are still in development while their profiles are being analyzed, used and influenced. And, I am not at ease at all with this idea and this is definitely not the society I wish to contribute to.

So once again, the question is arisen: is it ethical to place yourself on the other side of this game? You cannot blame a system AND profit from it at the same time. You cannot blame Google, Facebook and all the big ones to use our data and make millions from the exploitation of our content, reads, pictures etc while most of the time our guard is dropped, and be advertising online on the other side.

Any ad on social media requires you to choose who you want to target (ie “talk to”), selecting criteria as large as “age groups”, “female/male/etc” and more specific ones as “hobbies” or “centers of interest” (which is not something you have informed, but rather something social medias deducted by analyzing your content, likes, reading etc.).

So you can be as small, as ethical, as good-willing as you are, when you advertise online, you start then using personal data with commercial purposes.

The other problem is that, today, it is barely impossible to survive as a company without social medias. You can post daily but the profit-oriented algorithm will require you to pay if you really want to reach your audience.

This is why I sincerely don’t blame anyone opting for advertising. There is no much choice today unfortunately. A lot of companies which I respect a lot and even NGOs try their luck with paid posts and promoted stories with the hope to sell or fundraise enough to survive and grow.

This actually reflects once again the sad side of our beloved and addictive favourite platforms.

In my case, after having given a lot of thoughts to this complicated question (and I won’t lie, including a couple of tries), I’m not ready to silent my deepest convictions.

So, I refuse to be part of this game. I’ll remain on our current pages (and I love keeping contact with all of you) but I won’t pay. I won’t use your personal data with commercial aims. I might email you a newsletter from time to time (if I do have your email address) but I won’t go further.

I even regret having tried, but now I make the promise to myself to not use something I blame or don’t agree with. The same convictions made me revisit my products and, for instance, stop using leather (and I’m not vegan… but this will be another topic for a blog post!).

So yes, in conclusion, algorithm 1 – Elise 0. You might never see any of my posts because I don’t pay. But it is fine, I’ll remain small but proud, standing tall and loyal to my beliefs.

With love,