Is the use of Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms immoral?
The use of Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms is often immoral. Just like other social objects and activities like guns, cars, alcohol, drugs, sex, it is not the object itself that is immoral, but the use to which its put, its intended purpose by the user.
Just as prohibition didn’t work for dealing with the misuse of alcohol, and abstinence based sex education does not work to limit teen and other unwanted pregancy, banning social media platforms does not work either. However, holding accountable to the public welfare the people who use them in hurtful and destructive ways could be helpful.
Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning, justice, equity, and compassion in human relations, and the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Measuring the use of social media against the yardstick of these principles immediately allows the observer to determine what social media posts are moral and which are immoral. Which social media posts are virtuous and which are sinful.
More specifically, most of the tweets posted by President Trump and his followers are sinful. They do not promote truth but disinformation. President’s Trump’s tweets often denigrate and demean people and disrespect their inherent with and dignity. President Trump’s tweets often promote injustice, inequity, and a lack of compassion.
President Trump has millions of followers on Twitter. Who are these people that read his disinformation and retweet it? As Unitarian Universalists who covenant together to promote and affirm our seven principles, we need to pay closer attention to who is participating in sinful behavior, not to judge or punish them, but to hold them accountable for the damage they do in spreading ideas based on values that are foreign to our UU Living Tradition. If nothing less, we can be witnesses for the values we stand for and ostensibly profess to put our faith in.
Bottom line - be aware of how you and others are using social media platforms. These powerful communication platforms require a higher degree of responsibility for communication if they are to be used for good and not evil. Unfortunately, they all to often are used of the later rather than the former. Redemption is not possible if the sin has not even been named. The first step for Unitarian Universalists in saving the world is to name the sin.