Code of Ethics
New media refers to content and mass communication using digital technologies, containing interaction and creative participation of users. Social media is one type of new media which specifically means that users create online communities to create, exchange, or share content. It involves high participation and interaction of users that has increasingly became a hotbed of major ethical issues. Social media users are covered by my code of ethics. This code of ethics can only be used in democratic society.
Social media users should be truthful. Always notice that what we say could be believed by other users. As social media user, we should:
- Aways tell the truth. Present the facts as they are, even if we disagree with them.
- Never tell falsehood. We should not tell falsehood that means to deceive, to mislead people.
- Avoid exaggerating and distorting the truth. The exaggerated and distorted truth is not falsehood, but it will still mislead people.
- Admit the fact that we don’t know. There is nothing wrong if we don’t know, but never pretend that we know.
- Distinguish opinion and fact. Our opinions and interpretation of events are important but should never be confused with hard facts or data.
- Avoid making misinterpretation out of context. When we repost or share content from others, make the information and idea as integral as possible. We should never change other author’s purport of their information and idea.
- Reveal sources to ensure transparency. If we are using sources or we are sharing content from others, we should indicate the source.
- Avoid being plagiarism. We should not just copy and paste one’s own work and make it ours.
- Check the information and content we share or create carefully. We should admit and correct our mistakes immediately if we find them or if they have been reported by others.
Social media users should be critical to everything, as not everyone will follow the code of truthfulness on social networking. As social media user, we should:
- Be critical of ourselves first. Admit the fact that we will sometimes make mistakes or do somethings inappropriate.
- Be critical of our sources. Always check our source’s credibility and seek independent verification. We should not easily believe in statement made by content creator on videos and pictures without knowing background story of it.
- Consider and be aware of the consequence when we create and share content. Be aware of the effect content may cause.
- State our allegiances. If we have certain kind of bias (personal, national, political, etc.), state so. By stating fact of allegiance our opinions gain informational value that would otherwise be lost in suspicion of bias.
- Bring references. If we try to persuade others, especially in scientific discussion, bring facts.
- Be logical. We should be logical especially when we are trying to interact with others.
- Avoid morally hijacking. When we are discussing social issue, we should not force someone or some group to do something by using ethics as coercion. For example, we should not force someone to donate money to poor and if one choose not to do so we should not judge.
- Always get ready for criticism. Always provide opportunity for opponent to present content of the opposing side. Likewise, we should have the right to criticize others.
- Follow the ethical code of truthfulness when we are criticizing others. Especially avoiding making misinterpretation out of context.
It is very important to be respectful in social media, because it will help to create a civilized environment that should be genteel and harmonious. As social media user, we should:
- Be respectful to every individuals involved in social media. This means that we should treat every individuals as human no matter what races, genders, and social classes they belong to.
- Be respectful to different opinions. Opinions can vary because of different political tendencies, religious beliefs, social classes, ethnicities and nationalities. For example, even though Muslims are usually blamed for terrorism, we should always respect the religious belief of Islam.
- Be respectful to social groups which may be totally different from ours. For example, we may not agree with homosexuality but we should always respect homosexual group.
- Avoid using personal attack when criticizing others. It means responding to arguments by attacking a person’s character, rather than to the content of their arguments.
- Respect and protect freedom of speech. It means respect your opponents and criticism. We should not stop or block someone from criticizing us.
- Protect freedom of information, publication and expression. It is our obligation to use and protect these rights.
We should notice the fact that we are all responsible for our behaviors in social media. We should also consider the influence of our shared and created content on others in advance, and we should also be considerable to As social media user, we should:
- Consider political correctness. Try to avoid being discriminatory and offensive. For example, ask ourselves: Is it racist? Is it Sexist? Having prejudice is usually unavoidable, but at least be aware of it and reduce the effect.
- Consider privacy. We should avoid invading privacy of other people. For example, ask ourselves: Should we post some secrets about someone else on social media even though they are extremely close to us? Different people have different tolerability about privacy, and we should be aware of that and respect that.
- Consider explicit content. Especially the content about sex and violence. Ask ourselves: Are there children or teenagers following us on social media? Is it appropriate for them to see our content?
- Consider unsettling content. For example, we should ask ourselves: Is this picture too disgusting for someone who is eating? We should consider possible negative feelings of other people.
- Consider what is appropriate to the occasion. We should post and share appropriate content at appropriate time. For example, when all of our relatives are grieving over one relative’s death on Facebook, even though we have freedom of speech, it will be considered as inappropriate to post something funny regardless of the circumstances.