Do You Have a Moral Duty to Leave Facebook?

S. Matthew Liao in the New York Times:

I joined Facebook in 2008, and for the most part, I have benefited from being on it. Lately, however, I have wondered whether I should delete my Facebook account. As a philosopher with a special interest in ethics, I am using “should” in the moral sense. That is, in light of recent events implicating Facebook in objectionable behavior, is there a duty to leave it?

In moral philosophy, it is common to draw a distinction between duties to oneself and duties to others. From a self-regarding perspective, there are numerous reasons one might have a duty to leave Facebook. For one thing, Facebook can be time-consuming and addictive, to no fruitful end. In addition, as researchers have demonstrated, Facebook use can worsen depression and anxiety. Someone who finds himself mindlessly and compulsively scrolling through Facebook, or who is constantly comparing himself unfavorably with his Facebook friends, might therefore have a duty of self-care to get off Facebook.

From the perspective of one’s duties to others, the possibility of a duty to leave Facebook arises once one recognizes that Facebook has played a significant role in undermining democratic values around the world.

More here.  [Thanks to Sean Carroll who left Facebook today and cited this article in his farewell note.]

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