Chapter 19: The ethics of conspicuous virtue signaling: when brand co-creation on social media turns negative
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The rapid growth of social media has changed how brand co-creation takes place. While companies can benefit from increased customer-to-customer brand-related communications, the emerging environment also reduces their degree of control. One result is a phenomenon called conspicuous virtue signaling (CVS). It occurs when individuals criticize brands and other consumers on social media, not because they are concerned with a moral issue, but because they are concerned with how talking about it will make him or her look. This chapter focuses on the ethics of CVS. The conclusion reached is that CVS is unethical, both from a virtue standpoint, and from a consequentialist perspective. The chapter identifies that virtue signaling individuals and social media companies promote online outrage against others, and this way gain rewards at the expense of the attacked brands and cyberbullied brand-users.

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