Ethical Analysis Of Major Internet Companies

Survey Results

The Internet had developed as a more communicative and social venue and tool, ethical issues had transformed from data-driven to further human-centric. Internet ethics are the set of moral principles governing people or group over acceptable behavior using the Internet.

The following report had included various reasons why ethical issues are essential for widespread Internet companies. The study had also described various ethical standards. Then a survey was conducted here. Then it demonstrated the moral behavior, impact of the Companies profits over Australian Tax. Lastly, a summary was been discussed along with proper recommendations.

A short survey had been conducted on the employees for locating and summarizing ethical or code of conduct policies of various companies.

The question to be asked was: “How would you rank your company in maintaining distinct culture and code of conducts?”

Date

 Employee

 Response

 Rating

1.1.2018

 Employee1

 High

 9

1.1.2018

 Employee 2

 High

 8

1.1.2018

 Employee3

 High

 8

4.1.2018

Average Result

High

8.3

Date

 Employee

 Response

 Rating

1.1.2018

 Employee1

 High

 8

1.1.2018

 Employee 2

 Average

 7

1.1.2018

 Employee3

 High

 8

4.1.2018

Average Rating

High

7.6

Date

 Employee

 Response

 Rating

1.1.2018

 Employee1

 Average

 6

1.1.2018

 Employee 2

 Average

 5

1.1.2018

 Employee3

 High

 8

4.1.2018

Average Rating

Average

6.3

Date

 Employee

 Response

 Rating

1.1.2018

 Employee1

 Average

 6

1.1.2018

 Employee 2

 High

 8

1.1.2018

 Employee3

 High

 8

4.1.2018

Average Rating

High

7.3

 

Company Name

Discussion

Google

 They had intended to serve their users through privacy and freedom of expression, usefulness and integrity. They expected to respect each other, with same opportunities, positive environment and others (Sedenberg & Hoffmann, 2016). Further, they had been avoiding conflicts of various interests.

Dell

 They have been maintaining the trust issues through their words. They keep their commitments to each other and stakeholders. Integrity was sustained by them doing a proper thing without any compromise (Marshall, 2014). The appearance of impropriety was also avoided. Honesty was continued by speaking the truth and forthcoming apart from not just being technically correct. They have been open and transparent in communicating with others regarding business performance.

Apple

 This Company was committed assuring working conditions in the supply chain had been safe and the employees had been treated with dignity and respect (Li et al., 2014). Their suppliers have been engaged in all activities operating with complete compliance with regulations, laws and rules in the nations they were working. Supplier Code of Conduct had been moving further, drawing internationally identified standards, for developed environmental and social roles.

Facebook

 The first code of conduct deals with the conflicts of interest. The Facebook personnel had been thought to utilize judgment to act, every time and every way according to best interests of Facebook performing job duties. The next one was the harassment. The company never tolerates any unlawful harassment or mistreatment by workers, clients, guests, colour, ancestry, medical condition, genetic information and others (Weiss, 2014).     The next one was communications. They were assuring business communications and records had been accurate and precise. They identify that business communication could be shared and become public via government investigation, litigation and publication in media. The last one was open disclosure. The company was committed towards integrity and transparency of publicly-files cost reports and communications. Principal executive officers, financial officer, accounting officer had been responsible for ensuring disclosure of periodic reports on Facebook. It was checked that the description was accurate, understandable, timely and full.

All the companies had identified differences between right and wrong striving to set an instance of ethical conduct. Ethical individuals of all the above groups had treated everyone with whom they have been coming in contact and entertaining themselves.

The following survey was conducted on ten individual persons and their perspective on how ethical the companies had been.

Person

Rating

Person 1

8

Person 2

8

Person 3

9

Person 4

10

Person 5

7

Person 6

8

Person 7

7

Person 8

10

Person 9

9

Person 10

9

Average Rating

8.5

Initial Rating

8.3

Person

 Rating

Person 1

 7

Person 2

 8

Person 3

 7

Person 4

 6

Person 5

 7

Person 6

 8

Person 7

 9

Person 8

 7

Person 9

 8

Person 10

 8

Average Rating

 7.5

Initial Rating

 7.6

Person

Rating

Person 1

8

Person 2

7

Person 3

9

Person 4

10

Person 5

7

Person 6

6

Person 7

7

Person 8

7

Person 9

6

Person 10

8

Average Rating

7.5

Initial Rating

7.3

Person

Rating

Person 1

6

Person 2

8

Person 3

6

Person 4

7

Person 5

7

Person 6

8

Person 7

7

Person 8

6

Person 9

9

Person 10

7

Average Rating

7.1

Initial Rating

7.3

Google:

Integrity:

All of their interactions and communications with users must develop trust.

Usefulness:

They had comprised of various kinds of users from person to colossal business. However, there had been a single guiding principle that indicates whether their offers had been useful (“Alphabet Investor Relations”, 2018).

Dell:

“How we win”:

This code of conduct delivers guideline regarding their regular activities. This was done by the company as per as their values and cultures. It also includes compliance with spirit and letter of every applicable law in nations where they work and serve (us, 2018). Lastly, they had adhered to the one global standard which was winning with integrity.

Apple:

Anti-Discrimination:

The suppliers must never discriminate workers by age, disability, gender, national origin, gender identity and others restricted by local or federal applicable law. This was to hire employment practices (“Supplier Responsibility”, 2018).

Prevention of Underage Labor:

Suppliers must employ staff whose age was minimal of fifteen years. This was the down most legal age to engage or appropriate age to complete compulsory education.

  Supplier shall employ only workers who are at least 15 years of age, the applicable minimum legal age for employment, or the relevant period for completion of compulsory education, which ever was highest.

Discussion of Company Codes of Conduct

Facebook:

Confidential information:

Confidential business information of the company was a crucial resource to be protected by all. Personnel are needed to utilize confidential data of Facebook regarding the business purpose and should keep those data in strict protection.

Protecting user data:

While working with Facebook, employees can possess access to information tools or systems enabling to see particular data on Facebook sites related to users. This includes colleagues, registered and non-registered people not available at a public.

Protecting and using Facebook assets:

The company had been delivering personnel with a vast range of essential assets helping to do tasks from the side of Facebook at first level. The resources are mobile devices, communication platforms, software, electronic office tools, facilities and many more. Personnel are intended to treat those resources carefully and utilize them with interests of business in mind. (“Facebook – Corporate Governance – Code of Conduct”, 2018)

At Google, all the staff was treated with respect and dignity providing the same amount of opportunities irrespective of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender and others. Here the staff was provided with a healthy and safe workplace. They had never been tolerating any harassment. Their code of conduct in this sector was longest and best.

Dell had been taking every reasonable care for avoiding misleading overstatement, concealment and statements in all the advertising and public statements (Teitcher et al., 2015). This had been intended to create a long-term partnership with their customers through straightforward and honest in dealing every time. This had been respecting the confidentiality of all kinds of data it could gain relating to customers. In this respect code of conduct of Dell had been easiest to read.

At Apple, suppliers are chosen according to factors like integrity, service, delivery, quality and price. Their choice regarding suppliers was made objectively. Openness and honesty are paramount for Apple to deal with their suppliers. They had created their reputation according to their performance. They had competed lawfully and vigorously and never competed with others unfairly. It had not sought to harm the reputation of competitors directly or through implication. In this aspect, code of conduct of Apple had been full of air.

Facebook had been seeking to comply with national, international and local legislation that had affected their operations. They strived to follow best practices to corporate governance. They had met tax obligations (Marshall, 2017). Further, they never offered any support to any of the political parties. Thus, according to governance, regulations and legislators, Facebook can be regarded to be in the strongest stand.

Importance of Ethical Behavior for Internet Companies

Google:

The company had been obliged to violate copyrights. Various attempts are made to incorporate copyrighted materials in their Google Books project instead of any approval from IP holder being documented and resulted in a class-action lawsuit. Then there had been lobbying spending. Google had been alleged about hacking or electronic privacy violations (Xu, 2014). Street vehicles of Google had been equipped with various Wi-Fi detectors, collecting data regarding locally named Wi-Fi networks utilized for the “Google Location Services”.

Dell:

Dell was charged to fail the honor of advertising that provided particular no-interest. This had been according to new purchases and giving no customers any specific rate of interest. This was done instead of notifying them that they never qualified and completed the acquisition (Grossman, 2015). Further, the organization had not been able in engaging in those shady practices.

Apple:

An unethical behavior of Apple was to violate the labor laws and employee rights. It was proven by substantial working hours their staff had needed to perform their activities. Moreover, Apple had engaged in various innovations that are regarded unethical as per as MAN 2100 regulation on the roles of this organization (de Bruin & Floridi, 2017). Employees liable to market those changes are needed by Apple to work for long time duration. This results in burning out and exhaustion to those employees.

Company name

Tax paid

Discussion on their fair share

Google

 According to the “ATO 2014-15 Corporate Tax Transparency” report this company handed over about AU$15 million in tax after earning AU$459 million in 2016-17

 This was more than the fair amount of share (Skirton et al., 2015).

Facebook

Their Australian revenue increased from $326.9 million to $350.7 million in 2017 as “Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law” came into effect in the year 2016

 This was also a fair amount of their share.

Dell

 Dell Australia made outcomes for 2016 which was available to “Australian Securities and Investments Commission” or ASIC”. It had been reported to be AU$11.49 million in after-tax profit

 This had been a share amount of AU$1.4 million years on year (Guragai et al., 2015).

Apple

 Sales of Apple products in Australia till 2017 from 2007wasa total of $4.2 billion as per as Australian’s Herald analysis to the financial statements of local subsidiary

This same financial report revealed that $37 million was found to be paid out in income tax at that time and not to Australia’s tax authority (Majeed & Rupasinghe, 2017).

The above companies had faced serious concerns regarding the integrity of their services and products along with doing well for their environment and users. However, this never denoted that they had ignored profits in short-terms. One of effective approach that they had been intended to undertake was to seek what the customer cares to change the service or product to get satisfied. Google had been found to be more responsible in conducting their ethical behavior than others in this competition.

Some of the recommendations for the company include business transformation programs and initiatives regarding change management.

  • Above organizations could warp their ethical scenario through pushing more changes from the top, quickly and frequently.
  • The leaders can also study how fast their business had been globalizing in the past decades and operating around various cultures.
  • Further, pressure and incentives could be employed to inflate gaining targets.

Company Name

 Average ratings received from personal survey

Average ratings received from thoughts of people

Final ethical rating

Google

 8.5

 8.3

8.4

Dell

 7.5

 7.6

7.55

Apple

 7.1

 7.3

7.2

Facebook

 7.5

 7.3

7.4

Conclusion: 

The above report has presented the overview of few ethical issues regarding the business of Internet companies. The Internet had altered the way business done and the method had given birth to latest moral issues in businesses and incorporated dimensions to old problems. This study clarified that some of the organizations had made Internet commercially utilizable. Others had indulged in selling services and goods. Core to every establishment of trust few significant issues included intellectual property, privacy and security. In every problem informed and transparency consent have been going long in achieving ethical necessities.

References:

Alphabet Investor Relations. (2018). Alphabet Investor Relations. Retrieved 4 January 2018, from https://abc.xyz/investor/other/google-code-of-conduct.html

de Bruin, B., & Floridi, L. (2017). The ethics of cloud computing. Science and engineering ethics, 23(1), 21-39.

Facebook – Corporate Governance – Code of Conduct. (2018). Investor.fb.com. Retrieved 4 January 2018, from https://investor.fb.com/corporate-governance/code-of-conduct/default.aspx

Grossman, W. (2015). Book review: Disconnected: youth, new media and the ethics gap. Parenting for a Digital Future.

Guragai, B., Hunt, N. C., Neri, M. P., & Taylor, E. Z. (2015). Accounting information systems and ethics research: Review, synthesis, and the future. Journal of Information Systems, 31(2), 65-81.

Li, H., Sarathy, R., Zhang, J., & Luo, X. (2014). Exploring the effects of organizational justice, personal ethics and sanction on internet use policy compliance. Information Systems Journal, 24(6), 479-502.

Majeed, A. A., & Rupasinghe, T. D. (2017). Internet of things (IoT) embedded future supply chains for industry 4.0: An assessment from an ERP-based fashion apparel and footwear industry. International Journal of Supply Chain Management, 6(1), 25-40.

Marshall, P. (2017). Issue: Technology and Business Ethics Short Article: European Courts Set Privacy Standards.

Marshall, S. (2014). Exploring the ethical implications of MOOCs. Distance Education, 35(2), 250-262.

Sedenberg, E., & Hoffmann, A. L. (2016). Recovering the History of Informed Consent for Data Science and Internet Industry Research Ethics.

Skirton, H., Goldsmith, L., Jackson, L., Lewis, C., & Chitty, L. S. (2015). Non?invasive prenatal testing for aneuploidy: a systematic review of Internet advertising to potential users by commercial companies and private health providers. Prenatal diagnosis, 35(12), 1167-1175.

Supplier Responsibility. (2018). Apple (India). Retrieved 4 January 2018, from https://www.apple.com/in/supplier-responsibility/

Teitcher, J. E., Bockting, W. O., Bauermeister, J. A., Hoefer, C. J., Miner, M. H., & Klitzman, R. L. (2015). Detecting, preventing, and responding to “fraudsters” in internet research: ethics and tradeoffs. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 43(1), 116-133.

us, D. (2018). Code of Conduct. Dell. Retrieved 4 January 2018, from https://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/uscorp1/corporate~corp-comm~en/documents~dell-code-of-conduct-external.pdf?c=us&l=en&s=corp

Weiss, J. W. (2014). Business ethics: A stakeholder and issues management approach. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Xu, B. (2014). Media censorship in China. Council on Foreign Relations, 25.

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