This Week in PR Ethics (10/26/26): Is it ethical to sabotage other work to protect your own?

Holy cow, there sure are a bunch of ethics issues to discuss this week. From the sabotaging of others work to the unethical targeting of children and fake images, propaganda and spokespeople, there were some fascinating stories this week:

  • Is it ethical to sabotage other work to protect your own? – This is by far my favorite ethics article of the past few months.  There are so many permutations.  A company has created technology where artists can add a pixel to the art to misidentify it if large-language models scrape it for training. We have a great discussion on this in class.  It is ethical to do so? What are the ethics of LLM training? It is ethical to damage someone else’s work to protect your own? What if the only way you damage them is if they create an illegal act?  What if bad actors weaponize this to spread specific, harmful misinformation?


  • Unethical targeting of children – 42 State AGs are suing Meta for what they say is illegal (and unethical) practices targeting children that are also having a significant impact on their mental health


  • Social Platforms and Free Speech – The Supreme Court is always interesting and this year will not be an exception.  They will be examining if the platforms can restrict certain content. This will have broader ethical implications of the responsibility of platforms for the content on them and provide fodder for the debate – how does the First Amendment play into this? (Hint: There have been rulings on both sides of the issue)



  • AI Deepfakes in war – Not a new topic, but interesting recap from the Guardian on how AI deepfakes are being used in today’s conflicts.


  • Fake spokespeople – This is a fascinating article looking at a social media influencer who used to create content for Prime Minister Netanyahu (but no longer does), who claims to be speaking for the Israeli government (he is not) and is one of the most referenced sources for claims that Israel bombed the hospital in Gaza (from all I can read, they did not). But it shows the accidental negative power of self-proclaimed spokespeople and experts.
Mark McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA
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Mark W. McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA, is the general manager of C+C's Boston office. C+C is a communications agency all about the good and purpose-driven brands. He has more than 20 years of tech and fintech agency experience, served as the 2016 National Chair of PRSA, drove the creation of the PRSA Ethics App and is the host of


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