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But he goes on to claim that online social environments are If everyone is indifferently present regardless of where one is located on the globe, no one is commandingly present.

Those who become present via a communication link have a diminished presence, since we can always make them vanish if their presence becomes burdensome.

It cuts us off from the pleasure of seeing people in the round and from the instruction of being seen and judged by them.

It robs us of the social resonance that invigorates our concentration and acumen when we listen to music or watch a play.…Again it seems that by having our hyperintelligent eyes and ears everywhere, we can attain world citizenship of unequaled scope and subtlety.

As it is, we are always and already linked to the music and entertainment we desire and to sources of political information.

This immobile attachment to the web of communication works a twofold deprivation in our lives.

In contrast, Web 2.0 technologies evolved specifically to facilitate user-generated, collaborative and shared Internet content, and while the initial aims of Web 2.0 software developers were still largely commercial and institutional, the new standards were designed explicitly to harness the already-evident potential of the Internet for social networking.

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Partly due to the temporal coincidence of the social networking phenomenon with emerging empirical studies of the patterns of use and effects of computer-mediated-communication (CMC), a field now called ‘Internet Studies’ (Consalvo and Ess, 2011), the ethical implications of social networking technologies were initially targeted for inquiry by a loose coalition of sociologists, social psychologists, anthropologists, ethnographers, media scholars and political scientists (see, for example, Giles 2006; Boyd 2007; Ellison et al. Consequently, those philosophers who have turned their attention to social networking and ethics have had to decide whether to pursue their inquiries independently, drawing only from traditional philosophical resources in applied computer ethics and the philosophy of technology, or to develop their views in consultation with the growing body of empirical data and conclusions already being generated by other disciplines.

Borgmann’s early critique (1984) of modern technology addressed what he called the to critique (among other aspects of information technology) the way in which online social networks may subvert or displace organic social realities by allowing people to “offer one another stylized versions of themselves for amorous or convivial entertainment” (1992, 92) rather than allowing the fullness and complexity of their real identities to be engaged.

While Borgmann admits that in itself a social hyperreality seems “morally inert” (1992, 94), he insists that the ethical danger of hyperrealities lies in their tendency to leave us “resentful and defeated” when we are forced to return from their “insubstantial and disconnected glamour” to the organic reality which “with all its poverty inescapably asserts its claims on us” by providing “the tasks and blessings that call forth patience and vigor in people.” (1992, 96) This contrast between the “glamour of virtuality” and the “hardness of reality” continues to be a motif in his 1999 book , in which he describes online sociality in MUDs (multi-user dungeons) as a “virtual fog” which seeps into and obscures the gravity of real human bonds (1999, 190–91).

While this entry will primarily confine itself to reviewing existing philosophical research on social networking ethics, links between those researches and studies in other disciplinary contexts continue to be highly significant.

Among the first philosophers to take an interest in the ethical significance of social uses of the Internet were phenomenological philosophers of technology Albert Borgmann and Hubert Dreyfus.

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