An example of tailored advertising

Data mining is an issue in social media. Companies record, and then resell, your screen names, web site addresses, interests, hometown and professional history, and how many friends or followers you have.

Some companies also collect and analyze information about users’ “tweets, posts, comments, likes, shares, and recommendations,” according to Epsilon, a consumer data company. [1]


Social media websites harvest information on their users and sell them to advertisers. The advertisements on the site are then tailored to the users interests under the guise of “likes”. The user intends on sharing their interest with their friends, but the only people actually interested are the people receiving the advertisement revenue.

Ethical AnalysisEdit

An ethical analysis of data mining would show that since the user is not compelled to share their information, it would be unethical to prevent data mining. However, a more utilitarian mindset would be that the toll on the privacy of the individual user coupled with the little to no benefit that the user receives clearly makes data mining unethical.