The ethical implications can be difficult to tie down as they sometimes come down to the values or the end users and society or legal issues.

As such they are closely linked to social implications and legal implications.

Take the 2020 removal of former president Donald Trump’s Twitter account. This was taken down by Twitter for violations of their ethical policy. However this also has social, political and legal implications.

In the United States section 230 gives protection to Technology companies where users (like Trump) post information. This protection is that they cannot be sued for allowing this content on their platform and that they are able to remove the content if it violates their policies. There was a concern in the late 1990s that an internet provider could be sued for one of their users writing content that broke the law or caused harm.

See the page on Section 230 on the Electronic Frontier Foundation for more information.

What is ethical for one person, group, company or country might not be for others.

Also what is considered ethical at one time might not be in the future.

Questions that you should consider are:

  • Is it moral?
  • Is it right?
  • Who says it’s moral?
  • Could it cause anyone harm?
  • Could anyone use it to cause harm?
  • Is it violent?
  • It is pornographic?
  • Does it encourage responsible choices?
  • Does it exploit users?
  • Does it degrade any one or group?