Elaine Xu, Terence Lee

Illness bloggers and sickness scams: Communication ethics and the 'Belle' Gibson saga

In April 2017, 'Belle' Gibson was found guilty of contravening the Australian Consumer Law because she sold her recipe book and mobile app using deceptive business practices. Using the 'Belle' Gibson saga as a case study, this paper examines questions of communication ethics and the effect that technology has on our ethical behaviours and practice. It contends that technology has altered our perceptions of authenticity and credibility as well as our social relations and sense of 'intimacy' with online strangers.

Keywords: illness narratives, truth telling, communication ethics, social software, Australia


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Note on the contributor

Elaine Xu is a media and communication doctoral candidate at Murdoch University, Perth, Australia. Her research examines how the communication of need in charitable fundraising influences donor perceptions and behaviours. Contact: School of Arts, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia 6150; email: uxeniale@gmail.com.
Terence Lee is an Associate Professor in Communication and Media Studies at Murdoch University, Perth, Australia. He is Chair of the Communication Management postgraduate programme and is also a Research Fellow of the Asia Research Fellow at Murdoch University. Contact: School of Arts, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia 6150; email: T.Lee@murdoch.edu.au.