ethics

Facebook

Is A Facebook ‘Friend’ The Same As A Real Friend, Legally Speaking?

Thanks to Facebook, the term “friend” has been stretched far beyond its traditional definition. Many Facebook users have “friends” they have never met in person, haven’t seen in years or decades, know very little about, and who you may actually find objectionable in spite of the “friend” designation. That’s why, according to one Florida appeals court, being someone’s Facebook friend is no indication of any genuine familiar or intimate connection to that person. [More]

Chris Wilson

White House Trying To Delay Ethics Inquiry Into Ex-Lobbyists Hired By Trump Administration

The executive branch’s Office of Government Ethics is trying to find out which of the many former lobbyists hired by the Trump administration may currently be working on issues on which they previously lobbied. However, the White House is delaying that inquiry, claiming the head of OGE may not have legal authority to make this request. [More]

Gilbert Mercier

Study: Firing CEO May Be “Solution Of Choice” For Companies In Ethics Scandals

Not that long ago, when you saw a news story about a corporation doing something unethical — pollution, corruption, graft, fraud, to name just a few — you might holler “fire the CEO!” at the TV, but that was about as far as it got for many people; odds were you didn’t even know who that CEO was. Now, we not only have the CEO’s name and history at our fingertips, but also the means to repeat and amplify those calls for accountability, and a new study confirms that more top execs are indeed being fired for ethical concerns, even if it’s just to hold someone responsible. [More]

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Pinky-Swears He Won’t Tell Anyone Else To Go See His Movies

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Pinky-Swears He Won’t Tell Anyone Else To Go See His Movies

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin raised eyebrows recently when — in the face of federal ethics rules — he suggested that parents should take their kids to see the LEGO Batman Movie, one of many films on which the former Goldman Sachs executive has a producer credit. Mnuchin has already tried to downplay the incident, but today he officially told a government ethics watchdog that he won’t do it again, for real. [More]

Brad Clinesmith

Congress Decides Maybe It Shouldn’t Gut Independent Ethics Office (At Least Not Until August)

Last night, against the reported wishes of party leadership, Republican members of Congress met behind closed doors to adopt an amendment to the House Rules package that would have effectively neutered an independent Congressional watchdog created in 2008. Following a huge backlash from the public and the President-elect, the lawmakers have now walked back this controversial effort, and will reconsider the change this summer. [More]

Poster Boy

Facebook Now Has An Internal Panel Reviewing Research On You To See If It’s Ethical

Odds are very, very good that you’ve been part of a scientific research experiment in the past few years. Probably more than 70% likely if you’re on the internet at all, and approaching 100% if you’re under 30. Why? Because those are the percentages of Americans who use Facebook… which is constantly conducting some of the largest-scale behavioral research ever done.

[More]

Dinners And Parties: Here’s Why Comcast Isn’t Worried About Getting The TWC Merger Approved

Dinners And Parties: Here’s Why Comcast Isn’t Worried About Getting The TWC Merger Approved

Comcast has been using every trick in the book to drum up approval for their pending merger with Time Warner Cable. They’re spending big on lobbyists, filling campaign coffers, relying on revolving doors, and strategically funding feel-good initiatives. But those are just icing on the cake. What really gives them confidence in their merger plan? The buddy-buddy relationship they’ve developed with regulators.

[More]

Amazon Named Most Reputable Large American Company, Freddie Mac The Least

Amazon Named Most Reputable Large American Company, Freddie Mac The Least

According to the consulting firm Reputation Institute, Amazon is the most reputable company in the United States and Freddie Mac is the least.

[More]

Landlord Offers $50 Off Rent To Tenants For Leaving Positive Ratings

Landlord Offers $50 Off Rent To Tenants For Leaving Positive Ratings

Luke got an intriguing email from his landlord. It was an offer for $50 off his April rent – hooray! – but he had to something unsavory first. His landlord wanted him to go to apartmentratings.com and give the apartment complex 5-star ratings across the board.

[More]

Three Worst Company In America Nominees Make "Most Ethical" List

Three Worst Company In America Nominees Make "Most Ethical" List

In a de facto antidote to our Worst Company in America competition, Forbes released a list of the most ethical companies in the world.

[More]

Employee: Borders Is Making Us Push Loyalty Cards That May Be Worthless If Company Declares Bankruptcy

Employee: Borders Is Making Us Push Loyalty Cards That May Be Worthless If Company Declares Bankruptcy

Borders has struggled to pay publishers and may be facing bankruptcy. As a result, one employee is alleging the bookseller is getting desperate, ordering employees to encourage customers to buy loyalty cards that could lose all value if the company files Chapter 11.

[More]

How Far Should I Go To Let Macy's Know It Accidentally Gave Me Refund?

How Far Should I Go To Let Macy's Know It Accidentally Gave Me Refund?

Steve received an early, accidental Christmas present from Macy’s, which mistakenly issued a refund for a jacket he ordered online. Being paragons of moral virtue, Consumerist readers will no doubt tell him to let the retailer know about the goof and offer to pay for the jacket. But the question isn’t so much whether or not to tell Macy’s, but how much effort he’s morally obligated to exert in order to give Macy’s the chance to correct the error. Is an email to customer service enough? Does he need to follow it up until he receives a response?

[More]

Paying The Foreclosure Lawyer With A Second Mortgage

Paying The Foreclosure Lawyer With A Second Mortgage

Ever the hotbed of innovation, a new innovation in foreclosure defense is emerging in Florida. Until now, the big question for foreclosure lawyers is “how do we get paid?” If their client can’t afford to pay the bank, how are they going to pay for legal services? One firm has figured out a way. After the original mortgage is nullified or reduced, the client takes out a new mortgage for 40% of the savings, and pays it to the lawyer.

[More]

What Do You Do When A Site Fails To Charge Your Credit
Card?

What Do You Do When A Site Fails To Charge Your Credit Card?

Sarah seems partly jubilant and partly terrified that a travel website failed to make her pay for a round trip flight to Alaska. She wants to protect herself and know whether or not she has to do anything more.

[More]

Gift Card Error In Your Favor: When Do You Tell The
Hotel?

Gift Card Error In Your Favor: When Do You Tell The Hotel?

A reader emailed us to ask what he should do about an accounting mistake he discovered with some gift cards. He suspects the different parts of the hotel don’t update the card balance in real time, but it could also be that the hotel’s employees aren’t processing the card correctly. Now he’s wondering whether he should have said something.

[More]

PepsiCo Buys Its Way Onto Science Blog Network As A Food Nutrition Expert

PepsiCo Buys Its Way Onto Science Blog Network As A Food Nutrition Expert

Update #2: On Thursday morning, July 8th, ScienceBlogs contributor PZ Myers posted that the founder and CEO of Seed Media (which owns the blog network) has announced that the PepsiCo sponsored blog has been removed–although as of this update (10:44 am EST July 8th) it’s still online.

[More]

Is It Okay To Download A Pirated Copy Of A Book You Already Own?

Is It Okay To Download A Pirated Copy Of A Book You Already Own?

Yesterday we wrote about someone who downloaded a pirated copy of a game after he couldn’t gain access to the copy he’d already paid for. In that case, which most of our commenters supported, it was clear that the consumer was trying to resolve a problem created by the DRM. But what about if you own a printed copy of a book and you simply want to read the ebook version? Should you have to pay for a second copy? Randy Cohen, who writes the The Ethicist column for the New York Times, says downloading a copy you find online is ethical.

[More]