Social Media Ethical Issues

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In today’s society 78% of Americans use some form of social media. (Statista.com, 2016) Social media connects us to family, friends and acquaintances, allows a forum to share life experiences through videos and images, as well as disseminate or acquire news and other forms of information. Essentially, the cyber (virtual) world has become our new real world. Just as in the real world, the cyber world also has its own thugs, hidden dangers and potential for making damaging mistakes. One common cyber world thug is the cyberbully. An ethical question that results from the widespread and popular use of Social Networking Services (SNSs) is “How do we mitigate the threat of cyber-bullying and still enable people’s ability to connect to one another?”…show more content…
By posting a tweet that read, "#WhyIStayed You had Pizza.” DiGiorno diverted attention from a tweet intended to draw attention to domestic abuse and act as an online forum for women who survived abusive relationships. According to DiGIorno’s this was due to the lack of understanding the context of the hashtag on the part of the person controlling the company’s account and purely unintentional. This and similar occurrences lead to the ethical question, “Should a user of social media be held accountable and/or pay the consequences for misuse (due to lack of knowledge or research) of a hashtag?” Using a hashtag for the opposite purpose from the authors original intent is considered hashtag high jacking. When someone creates a large amount of tweets and references a hashtag with negative comments, the objective is most assuredly malicious. Unless the tweets are threatening, very few legal measures can be taken. A company or user could own a domain name or service mark allowing protection of a names use but there is officially no legal way to directly own a hashtag. Hashtags can also be disrupted from the original intent due to several other causes, such as duplicate or similar names. However, this can clearly happen without any intent to do harm. Malum prohibitum and malum in se are two categories of criminal offenses. Malum in se offenses are ones that clearly violate allowable conduct rules and are illegal under common law. Offenses that don’t seem to directly violate moral standards (e.g. ones that are clearly unintentional) are known as malum prohibitum. Several cases have been tried and ruled upon as precedent showing that people who commit malum prohibitum offenses should not be or should be held to lesser accountability consequences. Some cases in point are as

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