Question

Write an essay on ethics and social media.

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Specifically, I set out to explore whether an observation of mine had any merit. Based on how I felt before, during, and after using Facebook, and based on what I saw of the way friends and family felt as a result of using Facebook, I had a suspicion—well, perhaps just a hunch—that Facebook’s psychological effects were not always positive or benign. Part of my concern was that people I cared about—including myself!—were being affected in some way through their use of Facebook, but, because of the subtlety of the connection between the site and the feelings, the site’s influence was not salient. Of course, my suspicion was and is that Facebook’s effect on our emotional states is not altogether positive, and I think the suffering caused is made worse because the people suffering are not aware of the causal link back to their use of Facebook. At this point you may say, hold on, this sounds like an empirical question, a question of ascertaining whether or not Facebook indeed has a negative impact on the psychological states of its users – which is a question whose philosophical significance is unclear. However, as will be made apparent immediately below, it turns out that the empirical question is largely settled, even if it is quite complex...

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