Specialisation: Ethical Issues

Ethical Egoists and Social Contract Ethicists on Euthanasia

Euthanasia is a highly morally controversial topic that has been the subject of much debate and disagreement. The term refers to deliberately taking someone’s life to stop an enduring pain or suffering (Harris, 2006). The paper will look into the debate on euthanasia, which accompanies moral controversy, disagreements, and disputes among different social spectrums. According to Grassl (2020), on one side of the debate, proponents of euthanasia (pro-euthanasia or “death with dignity” advocates) argue that it is a moral right for individuals to have control over their bodies and to be able to end their suffering. They argue that euthanasia is a compassionate act that allows individuals to die with dignity and without prolonged pain. On the other side, opponents of euthanasia (anti-euthanasia or “right to life” advocates) argue that it is morally wrong to end a human life intentionally and undermines its sanctity. They argue that alternative methods, such as palliative care, should be used to alleviate suffering. In the ethical argument, each side’s perspective must be explained comprehensively, together with the moral justifications used to rationalize their position as the acceptable one.

When the two positions are evaluated using the studied moral theories that Harris (2006) highlights, an ethical egoist, who believes in self-interest guidance for moral decision-making (Grassl, 2020), would assert that the optimal course of action is to permit euthanasia since it is in the best interests of the person. The ethical egoist would advocate for the legalization of euthanasia and argue that it is in the patient’s best interest to choose when and how they end their suffering. They would also argue that the individual’s right to autonomy must be protected and that there is no need to prolong the individual’s suffering in any manner, according to Harris (2006). They recognize that the laws and institutions of society should not constrain a person’s ability to make choices in their best interest.

However, a social contract ethicist would take a nuanced position. Referring to Grassl (2020), in understanding the social contract ethicist, for a society to coexist peacefully, they must first agree to adhere to a preset set of ethical and political values. Some believe that if individuals adhere to the social contract, they can live moral lives of their free will instead of being compelled by a higher power. A social contract ethicist would argue that individuals have a moral imperative to respect the rights and well-being of others, in addition to societal norms and rules. They would argue that euthanasia should be authorized under certain circumstances, such as when a person has a terminal illness, and there is no chance of recovery (Grassl., 2020). On the other side, they would argue that it is the responsibility of society to prevent euthanasia from being abused or employed in a way that causes harm to others (Grassl, 2020). So, the social contract ethicist would only advocate for euthanasia on the condition of set society laws but should not be executed for any pain or suffering where an individual has a recovery option.

From a different perspective, according to the American Medical Association’s (AMA) code of ethics for medical professionals (n.d, p. 10), doctors “have a duty to alleviate pain and suffering and to protect the dignity and autonomy of their patients.” It also states that medical professionals “should not be a participant in a legally sanctioned execution.” However, they “may provide terminally ill patients the necessary tools to alleviate suffering and discomfort” (p. 8). In addition, it states that “physicians should not administer lethal medications with the intent to end a patient’s life” (pg. 8). This code of ethics is relevant to the topic of euthanasia because it recognizes the physician’s role in alleviating pain and suffering and promoting autonomy, but prohibits physicians from actively ending the life of a patient. This code of ethics presents a tension between professional and family obligations since it specifies that doctors should not engage in the termination of a patient’s life but also recognizes the importance of the patient’s autonomy and the alleviation of pain and suffering. This code of ethics creates tension between professional and family responsibilities by stating that doctors should not engage in a patient’s euthanasia.


In conclusion, euthanasia is a morally controversial topic that has been the subject of much debate, controversy, and conflict. Anti-euthanasia activists believe that euthanasia is immoral because it is a type of killing, that it devalues human life, and that it might result in the abuse and maltreatment of vulnerable persons. Proponents of euthanasia claim that people have the right to make choices over their bodies and to terminate their suffering whenever they are willing. This is an indication of a sparkling debate that is never-ending. However, many individuals within the social clique would advocate for euthanasia for one’s respect of self-interest and for society’s moral value of eliminating a person who seems to endure pain or suffering, with death as the only solution to an individual’s travail.


American Medical Association (AMA) (n.d). Code of Medical Ethics. Opinions on Caring for Patients at the End of Life. Chapter 5. https://www.ama-assn.org/system/files/2019-06/code-of-medical-ethics-chapter-5.pdf

Grassl, F. F. (2020). Book Review: Craig A. Boyd and Don Thorsen, Christian Ethics and Moral Philosophy: An Introduction to Issues and Approaches.

Harris, J. (2006). The value of life: an introduction to medical ethics. Routledge.

Ethical Issues in Social Media Systems, Access and Use


When developing and using social media platforms, a wide range of moral concerns must be considered. Personal information security is high on the list of concerns. Users’ political opinions, religious convictions, and sexual orientation are a few examples of private information that social media platforms may gather. This information may be used for various purposes, including targeted advertising and content delivery, by government and law enforcement authorities. The effect of social media on users’ psychological well-being is another important ethical consideration. Addiction to social media has been linked to increased isolation, jealousy, and emotional distress (Bishop & Gray, 2017).

Furthermore, it may be used to promulgate falsehoods and incite bigotry. There is a lot to think about regarding the ethics of using social media sites. When creating and using social media networks, it is essential to consider various ethical considerations. Privacy, security, data ownership, and user control are all examples of such concerns. Based on the research conducted, it has been determined that any suggested information system, IT, or computer engineering for social media would face unique ethical difficulties and, as such, will need its unique framework, methodology, or approach to assist in support or manage these concerns (Bishop & Gray, 2017). This paper explores moral dilemmas that arise while working with social media platforms and applications. This paper focuses on how people’s access to and use of social media affects their security, confidentiality, and trustworthiness. In addition, the paper examines how adhering to a code of ethics, in this instance, the IT Professionals New Zealand Code of Ethics, affects the relevant parties.

Problem Statement

Social media’s mechanisms, accessibility, and usage raise many ethical questions. Social networking sites, on the one hand, make it easier than ever to find out about new things and make new friends. However, the same tools may also be used to propagate disinformation, engage in cyberbullying, breach people’s personal space, and so on. It is not simple to say if the usage of social media platforms is morally excellent or ill. However, weighing the possible ethical ramifications is essential before engaging in social media. To that end, social media can do much good if its users behave themselves. However, careless usage may have devastating consequences (Hammack, 2019).

As the number of individuals who regularly use social media platforms grows, so is the visibility of the attendant ethical challenges. Misuse of social media may lead to several issues, such as cyberbullying, identity theft, and privacy invasion. Social media users should be alert to these dangers and take precautions accordingly. Many moral questions have been raised concerning using social media in the hiring process, especially regarding the candidates’ right to privacy. The term “Facebook issue” has been used to describe this situation (Kimball & Kim, 2013). The report’s primary concern is the potential harm from people’s exposure to and use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The paper focuses on the effects of having and using social media on one’s career prospects and stability. It also examines how the IT Professionals New Zealand Code of Ethics might lessen these effects (Willey et al., 2009). This study will look at social media and recruiting ethics and provide a model for dealing with these problems.

Essential Ethical Issues Surrounding Social Media Use

When it comes to using social media, privacy is of paramount importance. Users of social media platforms should be aware of who may access and use their data. They should also know that other parties can access and use their data without their knowledge or permission. Another significant moral concern is who owns and controls our data. In most social media platforms, users’ private data is stored. The confidentiality of this data must be preserved at all costs (Kimball & Kim, 2013). As a result, it is essential to think about how social media may be abused. Misinformation may quickly be disseminated through social media. It has the potential for abusive uses, such as cyberbullying. The personal lives, hobbies, and connections of its users are only some types of data that social media platforms acquire. Consequently, this raises grave worries regarding the privacy of social media users and the possibility of exploitation of this information.

Freedom of speech is another paramount ethical concern. Users of social media sites may voice their thoughts and ideas on a wide range of issues. However, there is always the chance that hate speech and other harmful and abusive information may be disseminated over these channels. The problem is that social media significantly affects people’s lives (Kumar & Nanda, 2019). People from all around the globe may now communicate and exchange ideas via social media. However, there is a risk that social media may be used to polarize society further and isolate its members by isolating them in “echo chambers” where they only encounter content that supports their beliefs.

Free speech depends on the dissemination of information and ideas, both of which are facilitated by social media. However, concerns regarding censorship and freedom of speech have arisen in cases when platforms have blocked user material or erased accounts. Worries regarding privacy and security are prompted by social media sites gathering many data about their users. In many cases, individuals must also provide sensitive information, like their real names, birth dates, and email addresses. Due to this, there is a more significant opportunity for fraud and identity theft. Cyberbullying, hate speech, and other types of online harassment may flourish in the public forums provided by social media platforms (Ricciardelli et al., 2020). Users, particularly young ones, may suffer mental health consequences. As a result, social media sites are responsible for fostering positive and civil dialogue among their users.

Social Media Ethics about software engineering or information technology information systems management

Ethical problems with social media platforms, user access, and use might occur in the context of SE/IT/IS. Concern for individual privacy is a potential source of ethical problems. Users’ names, email addresses, phone numbers, age ranges, gender identities, hobbies, and even physical locations are some personal data that social networking platforms may gather. The social media platform may use this data for several reasons, including targeted advertising and data sales to third parties (Thunman & Persson, 2017). Because of this, there is a chance that this data will be misused in a manner that violates both the letter and spirit of the law.

Concerns about a person’s right to free expression are another potential ethical problem at the intersection between SE/IT/IS and social media platforms’ usage, access, and development. Incorrect information can be disseminated over social media platforms, leading to the persecution of innocent people or communities. In addition, hate speech and other potentially objectionable communication may be disseminated via social media platforms (Thunman & Persson, 2017). Therefore, there is a possibility that people or organizations might be unjustly targeted or punished as a consequence of the material published on social media platforms. Concerns about the social media system’s integrity are yet another ethical problem that may emerge in the context of SE/IT/IS concerning social media access and usage (Wasike, 2013). A user’s information may be lost or stolen if their social media account is hacked or subjected to another cyber assault. Malware and viruses, which may be exploited to propagate over social networking platforms, can cause serious harm to computers and even lead to identity theft. As a result, the safety of social media infrastructures may have unintended consequences for specific users or communities.

Literature Review

It is essential to consider ethical concerns when working with social media (Wasike, 2013). Concerns have been raised about the possible exploitation of social media data and the privacy of its users. A fundamental issue in social media infrastructure is protecting users’ personal information. Users must have faith that their information will be secure and not misused or sold. The question of who owns what data is also crucial.

Regarding social media, the subject of whose data it is that is held on servers hosted by various companies becomes very pertinent (Velte, 2018). Companies or governments might potentially use this information for their gain. Finally, it is essential to consider how social media data may be used. Users’ social media profiles may be mined for information that can be used to personalize advertising and content. However, this information can also be used to influence people’s thoughts and actions.

New ethical problems emerge as the social media ecosystem develops. Users are in greater danger of harassment and data breaches when they reveal more personal information online (Kumar & Nanda, 2019). Furthermore, the availability and usage of social media might significantly affect mental health. The ethical ramifications of using social media should be considered before participating in such practices. Be cautious about whom you provide your private information to on the internet and only share it with those you know to be reliable. Understanding the different privacy options available on the various social networking sites, you frequent (Hammack, 2019). Take screenshots of the offensive material and send them to the platform admins if you or someone you know is experiencing cyberbullying. Finally, limit your time on social media and take breaks when necessary.

However, several hazards might arise from its use, including discrimination, privacy invasion, and violation of confidentiality (Kumar & Nanda, 2019). Consider the privacy issues that might arise from utilizing social media for hiring. Mainly, employers may request access to the application’s social media pages, including information the applicant would like to keep private(Thunman & Persson, 2017). There is a possibility of bias from prospective employers who view a candidate’s social media accounts. A potential employer could decide against hiring someone because they find their political ideas offensive.

The use of social media raises the possibility that sensitive data about candidates may be compromised. For instance, a job seeker’s friends on Facebook might be able to see a Facebook ad posted by a prospective employer. Inaccurate or deceptive information about a candidate might be spread through social media (Thunman & Persson, 2017). For instance, a job seeker’s friends on Facebook might be able to see a job posting that the prospective company had posted. However, there is also the possibility that fraudulent activity will be carried out through social media. For instance, if a company posts a job opening on Facebook, the potential employee who views the ad might notice it because they are friends with the company.

Proposed Framework To Address The Issue

Having access to and using social media may raise several moral concerns. Someone might be sued for libel if they posted anything defamatory on social media. Someone might be prosecuted for invasion of privacy if they gain unauthorized access to another person’s social media account and post humiliating information about that person. People might be prosecuted for stalking or harassment if they use social media to follow or harass another individual (Velte, 2018). Recruiters and HR departments must develop and implement policies that strictly limit social media usage during selection. Providers of social networking sites should establish and adhere to guidelines for gathering and using the information provided by employers and job seekers. The rules and procedures established and executed under this framework should be followed by all parties involved (employers, applicants, and social media service providers).

This article proposes a framework to deal with ethical problems in social media infrastructure, user participation, and content creation. Three core ethical concepts form the basis of the framework: beneficence, fairness, and respect for individual autonomy.

To act beneficence toward others, one must act in a manner that is ultimately helpful to the recipient. Therefore, it implies that people should be given a chance to obtain the most acceptable treatment and that their well-being should be prioritized. The principle of autonomy demands that people be given the respect due to free actors. So, people should not be forced to do something they do not want to and should be free to choose how they spend their time. Conversely, justice necessitates treating people fairly and equally. This implies that everyone should be treated correctly and without discrimination (Hammack, 2019).

Many strategies have been presented as potential solutions to these problems. The first is to restrict using social media as a tool for hiring. This method has been suggested by several writers, including Ricciardelli et al. (2020). They advise that businesses only utilize social media for hiring purposes when there is a genuine business need for it. This approach would lessen the chances of bias, privacy invasions, and leaks of sensitive information (Kimball & Kim, 2013). The alternative is to follow the rules while using social media. Several writers, including Sweeney [3], have recommended this method, emphasizing the need to ensure legal compliance while using social media for hiring. By taking this precaution, discrimination, privacy invasion, and disclosure breaches are mitigated. Social media may be used in a manner that is in line with established moral norms. Several writers, notably Ricciardelli et al. (2020), have recommended this strategy, arguing that businesses may and should utilize social media for recruiting while still adhering to ethical values. Through this method, prejudice, privacy invasions, and breaches of confidentiality would be mitigated to a greater extent.

Strengths And Weaknesses Of The Proposed Framework

Users have access to a platform that allows them to communicate with others and exchange information, one of the benefits of social media platforms. This has the potential to be a beneficial instrument for fostering open communication as well as cooperation. In addition, using social media platforms may assist users in developing connections and connecting with others with similar interests (Velte, 2018). People may connect from all over the globe thanks to social media, another significant benefit of using these platforms. This presents an opportunity to cultivate new and robust connections, which may be a positive development. On the other hand, it can also be harmful since it may foster discrimination and hate.

The fact that inaccurate or misleading material may be distributed via social media platforms is a limitation of these platforms. In addition, personal information may be exploited on social media sites, and cyberbullying can also be conducted through these networks. The infrastructure, access, and usage of social media all raise a host of complex ethical questions, and there are a lot of them (Thunman & Persson, 2017). However, it also has the potential to be a negative thing since it may facilitate the spread of false information and disinformation. One of social media’s most significant drawbacks is the frequency with which it is used to propagate propaganda and disinformation. This can be a positive thing since it makes it possible to influence public opinion. On the other hand, it can be harmful since it may develop echo chambers and filter bubbles.

The Ethical, Professional, And Technical Challenges That Could Be Faced In Attempts To Realise The Proposed Framework, Approach, Or Method

Several ethical considerations should be considered when developing and using social media platforms. Concerns around privacy, confidentiality, providing informed consent, and safety are among them. Many social media platforms gather and keep significant quantities of users’ personal information (Kumar & Nanda, 2019). This data could include sensitive information such as details on a person’s health or finances and political opinions. Users of social media platforms need to be informed of what will be done with their data and should be able to exercise some control over who gets access to it.

The platforms of social media may also be used for the dissemination of secret information. For instance, businesses may use social media to screen job applications, and medical professionals may use social media to communicate patient information. Social media is also used to connect patients. Users of social media platforms must be aware of the dangers of divulging sensitive information and should take measures to safeguard it before doing so. Users of social media platforms can have their personal information collected and used by third parties without their knowledge or permission (Kumar & Nanda, 2019). Concerns concerning informed consent and individual autonomy are raised due to this. Users of social media platforms must be aware of the purposes for which their data will be used, and they ought to have the option of giving or withholding their agreement to such uses. Social media may potentially provide threats to the users’ safety. Many social media users worry about cyberbullying and those who prey on children online. Users of social media platforms must be made aware of these dangers and encouraged to take preventative measures against them.


To sum up, there are benefits and drawbacks to using social media. In order to make informed judgments regarding your usage of social media, you need to be aware of its benefits and drawbacks. One of the most significant benefits of social media platforms is that they facilitate communication and knowledge sharing among users. Individuals and communities alike may benefit from this. For instance, users may use social media to maintain relationships with loved ones, spread information and knowledge, and find new acquaintances who share their passions. Social networking is an excellent tool for accomplishing group tasks like completing a project, planning an event, or pooling available resources. One of their main flaws is that social media platforms may be used maliciously. It is very uncommon for individuals to provide private details online without much thought. Also, people may use social media to harass and abuse others by spreading false or inaccurate information. Furthermore, social media networks are vulnerable to hacking, which might result in the disclosure or loss of sensitive information.


Bishop, L., & Gray, D. (2017). Chapter 7: Ethical challenges of publishing and Sharing Social Media Research Data. The Ethics of Online Research, pp. 159–187. https://doi.org/10.1108/s2398-601820180000002007

Hammack, C. M. (2019). Ethical use of social media data: Beyond the clinical context. Hastings Center Report49(1), 40–42. https://doi.org/10.1002/hast.979

Kimball, E., & Kim, J. (2013). Virtual boundaries: Ethical considerations for using social media in Social Work. Social Work58(2), 185–188. https://doi.org/10.1093/sw/swt005

Kumar, V., & Nanda, P. (2019). Social Media to social media analytics. International Journal of Technoethics10(2), 57–70. https://doi.org/10.4018/ijt.2019070104

Ricciardelli, L. A., Nackerud, L., Quinn, A. E., Sewell, M., & Casiano, B. (2020). Social media use, attitudes, and knowledge among social work students: Ethical implications for the profession. Social Sciences & Humanities Open2(1), 100008. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssaho.2019.100008

Thunman, E., & Persson, M. (2017). Ethical dilemmas on social media: Swedish Secondary Teachers’ boundary management on Facebook. Teacher Development22(2), 175–190. https://doi.org/10.1080/13664530.2017.1371634

Velte, A. (2018). Ethical challenges and current practices in activist Social Media Archives. The American Archivist81(1), 112–134. https://doi.org/10.17723/0360-9081-81.1.112

Wasike, J. (2013). Social media ethical issues: Role of a librarian. Library Hi Tech News30(1), 8–16. https://doi.org/10.1108/07419051311320922