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Our Lives Online:
The Ethics of Social Media

Is it possible to use social media in an ethical and responsible way? Drawing on recent news stories of social media use (from Instagram influencers to YouTube stars to anyone who uses Discord, Snapchat, and Twitter), as well as scholarly examinations of social media design and the history of technology, this course will explore the myriad ethical and moral questions that confront anyone who uses social media platforms: How does the design of social media platforms shape our experience of them? What habits of mind does our use of social media encourage? How can we combat “digilante justice” via online social media mobs? How is social media use implicated in our understandings of privacy, empathy, justice, and responsibility? And how is social media transforming our democracy? Finally, what guidance can the Jewish tradition and its moral values offer in the age of social media?