Social media platforms have become the norm in the society today and are used by billions of people around the world. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have transformed the social, political and economic aspects of life. Social media platforms allow users to share their photos and videos as in the case where Steve Stephens shared videos on Facebook of his intention to murder somebody and even ended up sharing a video where he actually murdered Robert Godwin Sr.
This raised the question of whether Facebook has a legal or ethical duty to rescue a crime victim. It is, therefore, important that Facebook develops strategies to ensure that such acts of violence are not broadcasted and that there is ethical use of the site as discussed in this paper.
Organizations and individuals both have duties to protect humanity. Facebook does not have any legal duty to rescue crime victims. This is because they are not mandated by law to fight crimes or protect people.
However, Facebook has the ethical duty to report a crime. Facebook does not condone violence or crime and collaborates with law enforcement when there is evidence of physical harm or threats to the safety of its users. Facebook encourages its users to report any information that has been broadcasted on the site and is violent or life threatening. Facebook show their ethical and moral community standards by helping in monitoring and controlling the broadcast of violent photos or videos. Therefore Facebook has no legal duty to rescue victims but has the ethical duty to report any criminal activities being carried out on their platform.
The internet is the most powerful tool for sharing information in the world. However, sometime this information can be false or in violation of one’s privacy therefore it is important that social media platforms be proactive and thorough with their review on content that is shared on their sites. This can be achieved through abiding to a code of conduct. Facebook provides high security to protect its users, there is secure browsing, and encryption of messages and posts is provided to prevent other users from accessing accounts unless they have permission. In a case where an account has been hacked then one can contact the help center and alerts are also sent to inform one when someone is trying to log in from unrecognized device. Facebook policies also advises users of things not allowed, such are hate speech, threats, nudity, continent of excessive violence and deceptive profiles. Facebook must provide publicly their statement of Rights and Responsibilities. These include information of their service terms for the users. Periodic updates are provided to users to inform them of the changes to the policies and guidelines on the site’s governance page. Violating the statement of Rights can lead to deletion of part or all access to Facebook.
Facebook can use technology to review images and videos. Facebook can use algorithm technology to review and filter content that is shared on the site. An algorithm can be used to supplement human reviewers, the algorithm should be able to filter videos and images uploaded to Facebook .If the algorithm detects an image or video as being violent then the user receives a warning message and is asked to provide an explanation as to why the image or video should be accepted .The human reviewers can then go through the explanation and the said image or video to ensure that the algorithm did not make an error. The algorithm may not perfect but will help in filtering out the most gruesome images and videos.
With increasing cases of violent content being broadcasted on social media platforms it is important to bring this to an end. Safeguards that Facebook and other social media platforms should put into place to prevent acts of violence from being broadcasted are continuous monitoring of the data posted. This can be done through the implementation of software to detect and delete activities associated to violence. Facebook should also not support games which have physical or mental torture tasks and if it allowed then it should be with very strict conditions. This way Facebook will be emphasizing on their zero tolerance to violence. In order for Facebook to prevent broadcast of acts of violence then the company has to lead by example and not have any games or apps that have aspects of violence.
Ethics officer and Oversight Committee are a crucial part of any organization. Facebook neither has an ethics officer nor an Oversight Committee. It is however important that Facebook creates these posts as it will help in dealing with accusation and violation of rules and regulation. Having an ethics officer will help Facebook executives think through difficult and critical ethical decisions. With an ethical officer Facebook will be able to develop ethical guidelines and code of ethics that will guide both employees and Facebook users. In addition, an ethical officer will provide training on ethical decision making. Having an Oversight committee will help Facebook in ensuring that ethical guidelines and code of ethics are enforced throughout the company. With an ethic officer or oversight committee Facebook will have an organizational culture that encourages law abiding and ethical conduct and a faster channel of resolving issues regarding any aspect of the ethics program Therefore, Facebook should create ethic office and oversight committee roles.
With increased use of social media and cases of misuse of social media platforms, it is critical to encourage ethical use of these platforms. Facebook can adopt anti violence campaign on their site to educate their users on the dangers of sharing violent content and at the same time remind users that Facebook does not condone life threatening content on their site. To encourage ethical use of their platform Facebook should deactivate accounts that frequently broadcast violence or that has been numerously reported to have violated the statement of rights and responsibilities and community standards. Strict adherence to Facebook’s statement rights and responsibilities together with the community standards will greatly contribute to ethical use of Facebook.
In conclusion, the use of social media platforms has evolved over time. However, concern has been raised over misuse of these platforms. As in the case where Steve Stephens shared videos on Facebook of him murdering Robert Godwin Sr. Facebook, however, does not have a legal duty to rescue crime victims but has the moral duty to report crime to law enforcement agencies. Facebook can thoroughly review content being shared on the platform by using an algorithm to filter videos and photos and strict adherence to the code of conduct and statement of rights and responsibilities. Safeguards that Facebook and other social media platforms should put into place to prevent acts of violence from being broadcasted are continuous monitoring of the data posted and avoidance of games that have physical or mental torture tasks. Facebook does not have an ethics officer or oversight committee and should establish these roles to help in development and implementation of ethics guidelines and code of ethics. Facebook can encourage ethical use of their site by having anti violence campaigns and permanently blocking and deactivating accounts that violate Facebook statement of rights and responsibilities and community standards. Cases of violence on social media platforms are unacceptable and should not be allowed at all cost.