Facebook: Ethical Considerations

For this week we didn’t have lecture because it was Chinese New Year holiday. However, we still had tutorial. We had a discussion on ethics in different background and we were given a chance to choose the topics that we are most interested in. As the social networking sites are becoming popular nowadays and people spend most of their time online, I have decided to choose ethics in social media focusing on ethical considerations in Facebook.

Based on my findings, the NASW Code of Ethics (1999) is used as a reference, citing particular standards that provide a guide for each ethical issue. There are some basic ethical considerations of social media or social worker. Regarding to private conduct, social workers should not permit their private conduct to interfere with their ability to fulfill their professional responsibility. In terms of privacy, social workers should respect clients’ right to privacy and should not solicit private information from clients unless it is essential to providing services or conducting social work evaluation or research. Moreover, n order to avoid conflicts of interest, social media should not engage in dual or multiple relationships with clients or former client in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the client.

Facebook is an interesting phenomenon though, and one that I think we are yet to fully appreciate in terms of how it is changing behaviour and culture. As it is a platform that involves friends, it implies a level of intimacy. People share important life events, photos, how they are feeling and more. It is a tool that allows you to enter others lives, and to invite people to enter yours. There is also an instantaneous dimension to Facebook. We can post so quickly, and get feedback quickly.

But still, significance life passages such as life and death matters should not be informed through Facebook. My intent is for us to live in a world where we can be more conscious of our actions. Just because technology enables us to do something, it doesn’t mean that we should do something. Although the technological world is the world in which we live, we should be aware of all of its obstacles and embrace all that it has to offer.


National Association of Social Workers. (1999). NASW Code of Ethics. Washington, DC.


(Week 5) Prepared by: Wai Wai Ko


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