The Ethics of Quitting Social Media

In Carissa Véliz (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Digital Ethics. Oxford, UK: (2021)
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Abstract
There are prima facie ethical reasons and prudential reasons for people to avoid or withdraw from social media platforms. But in response to pushes for people to quit social media, a number of authors have argued that there is something ethically questionable about quitting social media: that it involves — typically, if not necessarily — an objectionable expression of privilege on the part of the quitter. In this paper I contextualise privilege-based objections to quitting social media and explain the underlying principles and assumptions that feed into these objections. I show how they misrepresent the kind of act people are performing in quitting, in part by downplaying its role in promoting reforms in communication systems and technologies. And I suggest that this misrepresentation is related to a more widespread, and ultimately insidious, tendency to think of recently-established technological states of affairs as permanent fixtures of our society.
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Archival date: 2022-05-12
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