Social Media Ethical Dilemma: the Admin-less Facebook Group

Case Study: As with any institution of a reasonable size, Grand Rapids Community College has its detractors who occasionally express themselves via social media.

One of the handful of anti-GRCC groups on Facebook recently had its administrator vacate his position, leaving the group leaderless. The ethical dilemma I’m presented with is: do I seize this opportunity to join the group, establish myself as the admin, and promptly abolish the group?

The answer is, of course, no. That would be unethical, and I run the risk of making the problem worse. Here’s why:

  • First, criticism is perfectly fine – not everyone has had a positive experience and they’re entitled to tell the world about it. Moreover, their complaints are powerful in helping frame the college’s priorities which ultimately resolves the problems.
  • Second, the deletion of the group may be noticed by those who are currently members as a status update, which may spark an investigation which (along with their resulting ire) will be directed at me – a GRCC flak.
  • Third, the content on the group is barely-coherent and riddled with profanity, anti-gay slurs, misspellings and shoddy grammar – so it’s unlikely many people will take it seriously.

Ultimately the group will go away of its own accord simply because it isn’t a viewpoint shared by enough individuals to sustain it. Given the nature of the sentiment, here is a very small chance that reputation of the organization will be harmed by its existence as most people likely find it unpersuasive.

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