Social networking Web sites create online communities of Internet users that eliminate barriers created by time, distance, and cultural differences. These sites allow people to interact with others online by sharing opinions, insights, information, interests, and experiences. Members may use the site to interact with friends, family members, and colleagues they already know, but that they may also wish to develop new personal and professional relationships on the sites.
Social network advertising uses social networks to inform, promote, and communicate the benefits of products and services, and there are several advertising strategies. Banner ads on social networks can either be displayed to each visitor to the Web site or by using the information in user profiles, directed toward those members who would likely find the product most appealing. People frequently make decisions based on input from their close group of friends and advertising and use an individual's network of friends. Company owned social networking web sites allow users to talk about new products, services, or improvements they would like to see and the company can implement customer-submitted ideas. Viral marketing is where users pass along a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth.
Many companies are using social media to advertise, collect information, or gather background on individuals. Do you think this is ethical?