Philosopher S. Matthew Liao discusses the question here.
I found this article very interesting. I would agree with many of the points made in this article, as well as the general claim that one has a moral obligation to get off of facebook. I do think however, that it is harder for people to delete or deactivate their accounts because of the worry that they might be missing events in some of their friends lives. With this being said, I think it would be better to support different platforms of social media in order to keep up with one another. The main reason I think people should begin to get off of facebook is because of their involvement with Cambridge Analytica. If the platform is willing to sell the information of their users to another company for money, then why should the users continue to support a company who isn’t looking out for them? I also found this article interesting because not only did it focus on social media’s impact on a person’s mental health and self esteem, but it also brought up other problems that have occurred on facebook such as anti-semitic messages and hate speech against Muslims. I was unaware of these events, but think they give an even bigger reason for people to deactivate their facebook accounts and stop supporting the platform.
I agree with some points in this article, however I have a few reservations as well. I think a lot of what people see on Facebook is only what they want to see or believe. For example, a very liberal person won’t spend time looking over conservative articles and the Facebook database knows this and these sorts of posts don’t show up (and vice versa). It is very easy to become complacent in our ideologies and views when we only ever hear and read others views that are analogous to our own. For this specific reason i think it is very important to make sure we get our news from sources other than social media. It is tailored to get a good response from its users so much of the time we like what we see and keep coming back to continue being entertained. Yet, if a facebook user proceeds with caution I don’t think it is absolutely necessary to delete the app. I think it can be harmless. For me (and plenty of others), facebook is mostly for my family (specifically my grandma) to see the pictures of me and my friends. I use it to keep in touch with distant friends and family which isn’t causing any harm or need to terminate my usage of the app. Unless someone is spreading hate intentionally or unintentionally, I don’t see Facebook as a pressing issue for us to focus on.
While there may not be a clear moral imperative to leave Facebook at the moment, there are conditions that create possible futures where an imperative could easily be generated. This is most clear in studies referenced within this article about the psychological impact Facebook has on users. Features such as constant notifications and an endless scrolling sequence are not designed for user happiness or to better connect people, but to attract as many people as possible to the site and to keep them online for as long as possible to generate ad revenue. If Facebook continues to create features that degrade users’ psychological health in search of additional profits, the need to support a reduced use of the site becomes stronger. While the moral imperative might not be to leave Facebook, continued psychological harm caused by Facebook use would warrant Facebook to educate users about the negative effects of using their products, as harmful products such as alcohol and cigarettes are required to do. It is still within someone’s rights to use alcohol or cigarettes, but the negative health effects of the use of the product cannot be hidden or blurred by the company profiting from the product. Facebook dictates that it continues to value increased user retention over the health and happiness of its users, suggesting an imminent imperative for user warnings.
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