The Ethics of Web 2.0

        Good Practices on the Social Web




Trebor Scholz
Department of Media Study
trebor@thing.n...
Ethics
A Few Historical Snapshots




                             2
Immanuel Kant:
becoming human involves
culture, morals, civilization


Morality (Kant)
each action must be driven by
the c...
Ethics was used to tame the appetites

     repression of spontaneous behavior, passions and desires
affect-control, overc...
Technologies often served in the process
of drive-control the training of human
faculties overcoming immaturity (Kant)



...
Graeco-Roman Ideas:

Bravery, Justice

Resisting temptations, demands

Seeing one's own rights in relation to others

Mutu...
Judeo-Christian Ideas:

Love thy neighbor

Willingness to help, solidarity
(this is always at danger of being
limited to a...
Christian recommendation of abstinence from premarital sex

                                                   http://tiny...
Modern Age

Valorization of work increased

Other values include tolerance and self-awareness.




                       ...
What does it mean to be ethical today?
      Being affected by what affects the other.

 Moral existence means to act inde...
Customary behavior is dangerous.

In Nazi Germany, not frequenting stores run
by Jews was a customary behavior.




      ...
striving to be good presupposes
         an idea of what is humanely proper

virtues such as self-mastery, chastity, brave...
Striving for heightened humanism is often accompanied
by a tendency for hubris (i.e., Nietzsche's Übermensch)

Nazis ideol...
Moral arguments are
culturally rooted.




  http://tinyurl.com/2xgfvp
                              14
virtuous- bashful young girl (tugendhaft)




                                     http://tinyurl.com/2uhkz2

            ...
social conventions are used to evaluate the
moral value of one’s everyday actions...




                                 ...
individual ethics
an ethics of the multitude


                             http://tinyurl.com/2l6e4a

                   ...
What can desire
   raise up in us?




Sigmund Freud: psychological functions attributed to taboos
but Georges Bataille ar...
Ethics is also part of allowing oneself
to be affected by desires and temptations but
        involvement must be selectiv...
Customary behavior: I do what people do. It is a custom to be polite.




                                                ...
Hannah Arendt on Eichmann --
     did not think he did evil acts but was
      convinced that he simply fulfilled
        ...
Reichskristallnacht
                      http://tinyurl.com/2v3kfl
                                            22
Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland

                                             http://tinyurl.com/375ykl
 ...
24
Context & Consequences




                         25
What are ethical standards on both, the side
                              of the users and the corporate platform
       ...
What is the role of sns in accessing
 the world? Morality gets rarely
            applauded.

Morality as practicing to be...
What does it mean to politicize
                  your own life project?

      Taking everyday life seriously from time t...
29
Context, Intentions, and Consequences




                                        30
The language around morals and ethics is often vague.


Moral questions are most valuable when addressed in relation
 to r...
Does talk about ethics mean that we
can’t have any more fun?




                                      32
33
34
Labor




        35
Free Labor


By looking at the Internet as a specific instance of the
fundamental role played by free labor, this essay al...
In early communities (The Well) labor was really free:
    not imposed, free cooperation, and pleasurable.




           ...
There are ethical concerns on the side of users
and others on the side of companies who provide
  the platforms on which a...
The Social Web Makes People Easier To Use

You make all the content-- they get all the revenue.




                      ...
Labor is almost like leisure

Life itself is put to work (Virno)




                                     40
Affective Economy

                        Emotional capital

                 Emotions created through social
           ...
monetary wealth

immaterial labor

affective labor

free labor does not equal exploitation (Terranova)

precarious labor

...
WSJ: Lawrence Lessig discusses
the exploitation of Star Wars fans




                                     43
The key is managing the marriage of money and
nonmoney without making nonmoney feel like a
sucker.

                   --Y...
45
Centralization




                 46
The scale and degree of utilization of immaterial
labor plays out most with highest traffic sites (rather than the
mom and...
48
www.sina.com.cn, www.baidu.com, www.yahoo.com,
www.msn.com, www.google.com, www.youtube.com,
www.myspace.com, www.live.com...
Jay Rosen:
    $15 billion for Facebook doesn’t sound so crazy when you
 consider this: A Deutsche Bank analyst says that ...
580 million
    1.6 billion




Production of value through utilization/exploitation.
Example Myspace: $580 Mio to $15 Bil...
52
53
Case Studies




               54
55
http://tinyurl.com/yvtm2f




                       56
http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2007/03/call_for_a_blog_1.html




                                                     ...
SNS: It is not useful to merely define new social regulations.




                                                       ...
Are users used? Most definitely. Do they mind it? Not yet.

    People are being used and empowered at the same
    time. ...
Cut & Paste Ethics:

Is it good practice to copy a text from a blog and post it
                     on a mailing list?

 ...
Data provided in Facebook profiles
    music
    books
                          What happens with our data?
    movies
  ...
Some of my friends have MySpace parties. Basically, a
bunch of kids get together with their laptops and all
sign on to MyS...
63
Tradeoff




           64
Tradeoff
Pros                                                  Cons

Pleasure of creation                                 ...
Struggle Over Moral Authority
Social Contract-- Level of Distrust

users and producers cast themselves
as victims of chang...
Voluntary participation                          Involuntary participation


tweak MySpace design of                      ...
Our identity is defined by our consumptive activity.




                                                       68
A crucial phenomenon of the Web is that of
captive community. Users contribute their content to social
environments and ar...
70
Resistance




             71
In September 2006 communal negotiating power
was made apparent when 741,000 users joined the
group against the introductio...
73
- end -

please direct comments, additions, etc
          to trebor@thing.net




                                         74
75
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Web 2.0 Ethics

  1. 1. The Ethics of Web 2.0 Good Practices on the Social Web Trebor Scholz Department of Media Study trebor@thing.net Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 1
  2. 2. Ethics A Few Historical Snapshots 2
  3. 3. Immanuel Kant: becoming human involves culture, morals, civilization Morality (Kant) each action must be driven by the categorical imperative of the moral argument Ethical life (Hegel) norms followed in everyday behavior 3
  4. 4. Ethics was used to tame the appetites repression of spontaneous behavior, passions and desires affect-control, overcoming “vices” like unpunctuality and laziness http://tinyurl.com/39e59h 4
  5. 5. Technologies often served in the process of drive-control the training of human faculties overcoming immaturity (Kant) 5
  6. 6. Graeco-Roman Ideas: Bravery, Justice Resisting temptations, demands Seeing one's own rights in relation to others Mutual respect of each other- independence, magnanimity, level-headedness, common welfare as reference the value of fatherland (patria) beauty- relationship between virtue and beauty was seen 6
  7. 7. Judeo-Christian Ideas: Love thy neighbor Willingness to help, solidarity (this is always at danger of being limited to a small circle of friends) Chivalry Idea of reconciliation/forgiveness Family as value Protestant work ethics enforced capitalist modes of production and optimization Work becomes a value in itself http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=76142920&size=o 7
  8. 8. Christian recommendation of abstinence from premarital sex http://tinyurl.com/3xjy6s 8
  9. 9. Modern Age Valorization of work increased Other values include tolerance and self-awareness. 9
  10. 10. What does it mean to be ethical today? Being affected by what affects the other. Moral existence means to act independently of demands and temptations. The ability to act without being pushed along- but rather act authentically based on reflection. Morality gets rarely applauded. 10
  11. 11. Customary behavior is dangerous. In Nazi Germany, not frequenting stores run by Jews was a customary behavior. 11
  12. 12. striving to be good presupposes an idea of what is humanely proper virtues such as self-mastery, chastity, bravery are instrumental to enforce the authority of the state or prevailing authority 12
  13. 13. Striving for heightened humanism is often accompanied by a tendency for hubris (i.e., Nietzsche's Übermensch) Nazis ideology formulated the idea of the subhuman. Human ideals are dangerous as they suppose the idea of the good person. http://tinyurl.com/2td7sa 13
  14. 14. Moral arguments are culturally rooted. http://tinyurl.com/2xgfvp 14
  15. 15. virtuous- bashful young girl (tugendhaft) http://tinyurl.com/2uhkz2 15
  16. 16. social conventions are used to evaluate the moral value of one’s everyday actions... http://tinyurl.com/2gavhd 16
  17. 17. individual ethics an ethics of the multitude http://tinyurl.com/2l6e4a 17
  18. 18. What can desire raise up in us? Sigmund Freud: psychological functions attributed to taboos but Georges Bataille argued that suppressed desires lead to violence. http://tinyurl.com/2hbqcl 18
  19. 19. Ethics is also part of allowing oneself to be affected by desires and temptations but involvement must be selective. http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=1984926191&size=o 19
  20. 20. Customary behavior: I do what people do. It is a custom to be polite. http://tinyurl.com/32wnaj 20
  21. 21. Hannah Arendt on Eichmann -- did not think he did evil acts but was convinced that he simply fulfilled his duty Otto Adolf Eichmann (known as Adolf Eichmann; March 19, 1906 – June 1, 1962) was a high- ranking Nazi who was charged with the task of facilitating and managing the logistics of mass deportation to ghettos and extermination camps in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. After the war, he traveled to Argentina using a fraudulently obtained laissez-passer issued by the International Red Cross[1][2] and lived there under a false identity. He was captured by Israeli Mossad agents in Argentina and tried in Israeli court on fifteen criminal charges, including crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was convicted and hanged. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Eichmann 21
  22. 22. Reichskristallnacht http://tinyurl.com/2v3kfl 22
  23. 23. Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland http://tinyurl.com/375ykl 23
  24. 24. 24
  25. 25. Context & Consequences 25
  26. 26. What are ethical standards on both, the side of the users and the corporate platform providers? Social Networking Sites - protection of minors - transparency of the rules - privacy in relation to submitted data - content ownership - community lockup (i.e., how easy is it to move data?) - respect for the social contract 26
  27. 27. What is the role of sns in accessing the world? Morality gets rarely applauded. Morality as practicing to be part of a community, a loose group ... 27
  28. 28. What does it mean to politicize your own life project? Taking everyday life seriously from time to time. Today morality often requires one to depart from common life: the ability to say 'no' is where it all starts. Today a moral life and a straightforwardly successful one are not the same... Today, morality means to be better, it begins with skepticism and it means to resist. One possibility: to lead an exemplary life 28
  29. 29. 29
  30. 30. Context, Intentions, and Consequences 30
  31. 31. The language around morals and ethics is often vague. Moral questions are most valuable when addressed in relation to real situations, and I suggest to only deal with them in relation to specifics contexts. 31
  32. 32. Does talk about ethics mean that we can’t have any more fun? 32
  33. 33. 33
  34. 34. 34
  35. 35. Labor 35
  36. 36. Free Labor By looking at the Internet as a specific instance of the fundamental role played by free labor, this essay also tries to highlight the connections between the “digital economy” and what the Italian autonomists have called the “social factory.” The “social factory” describes a process whereby “work processes have shifted from the factory to society, thereby setting in motion a truly complex machine.” Tiziana Terranova 36
  37. 37. In early communities (The Well) labor was really free: not imposed, free cooperation, and pleasurable. 37
  38. 38. There are ethical concerns on the side of users and others on the side of companies who provide the platforms on which all of this happens. 38
  39. 39. The Social Web Makes People Easier To Use You make all the content-- they get all the revenue. 39
  40. 40. Labor is almost like leisure Life itself is put to work (Virno) 40
  41. 41. Affective Economy Emotional capital Emotions created through social relations when a social object enters a corporate platform On the Social Web pleasure produces wealth. 41
  42. 42. monetary wealth immaterial labor affective labor free labor does not equal exploitation (Terranova) precarious labor 42
  43. 43. WSJ: Lawrence Lessig discusses the exploitation of Star Wars fans 43
  44. 44. The key is managing the marriage of money and nonmoney without making nonmoney feel like a sucker. --Yochai Benkler 44
  45. 45. 45
  46. 46. Centralization 46
  47. 47. The scale and degree of utilization of immaterial labor plays out most with highest traffic sites (rather than the mom and pop stores of the Web). 47
  48. 48. 48
  49. 49. www.sina.com.cn, www.baidu.com, www.yahoo.com, www.msn.com, www.google.com, www.youtube.com, www.myspace.com, www.live.com, www.orkut.com, and www.qq.com top 10 40% 49
  50. 50. Jay Rosen: $15 billion for Facebook doesn’t sound so crazy when you consider this: A Deutsche Bank analyst says that a newspaper reader in 2004 was worth $964 a year. Today, that’s $500. Facebook’s 50 million active users translates to $300 per year at that valuation. And newspapers are shrinking while Facebook is growing by 200,000 new users a day. A day. And those users spend an average of 20 minutes each day inside the site vs. 41 minutes a month on newspaper sites, says DB. http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003662798 http://www.buzzmachine.com/2007/10/27/social-value/ 50
  51. 51. 580 million 1.6 billion Production of value through utilization/exploitation. Example Myspace: $580 Mio to $15 Billion 51
  52. 52. 52
  53. 53. 53
  54. 54. Case Studies 54
  55. 55. 55
  56. 56. http://tinyurl.com/yvtm2f 56
  57. 57. http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2007/03/call_for_a_blog_1.html 57
  58. 58. SNS: It is not useful to merely define new social regulations. 58
  59. 59. Are users used? Most definitely. Do they mind it? Not yet. People are being used and empowered at the same time. It is too early to say how effective new types of content licensing will be, or in fact are, in preventing (commercial) appropriation. Being used is one thing; not knowing that your attention is monetized is another. 59
  60. 60. Cut & Paste Ethics: Is it good practice to copy a text from a blog and post it on a mailing list? Is it good practice to take a nude photo of a theorist (available online) and add it to his Wikipedia entry? Is it good practice to forward your email to other people? 60
  61. 61. Data provided in Facebook profiles music books What happens with our data? movies address Which decisions about are home town made based on these data? phone number email clubs jobs educational history birth date sexual orientation interests daily schedules relation to friends pictures 61
  62. 62. Some of my friends have MySpace parties. Basically, a bunch of kids get together with their laptops and all sign on to MySpace and start surfing it together. The party takes off when they start surfing kids' profiles who aren't present. You can imagine what a gossip scene it is. --Tara, 16 The MySpace Generation 62
  63. 63. 63
  64. 64. Tradeoff 64
  65. 65. Tradeoff Pros Cons Pleasure of creation Intrusion into the personal They gain friendships Market research Ads, unwanted content Share their life experience Commodification of intimacy (dating sites) Archive their memories Spam They are getting jobs Breach of social contract Find dates and contribute to the Society of control greater good Amazon.com helps people to find books and Social enjoyment music but may erode valuable processes by Maximum convenience which people discover new authors or artists. Constraints and accidents of everyday life are informal mentorship Trebor Scholz 07 the basis for enjoyable and meaningful activities, even if they are less efficient. 65
  66. 66. Struggle Over Moral Authority Social Contract-- Level of Distrust users and producers cast themselves as victims of change 66
  67. 67. Voluntary participation Involuntary participation tweak MySpace design of Filling in profiles update Facebook (FB) status Data mining FB Wall posts (social control) create, upload, embed, watch media (photos, videos) breach of social contract update profiles (Do people know that they are friending/ unfriending creating wealth?) install one of the 400 FB applications Society of control (Deleuze) blog chat (IM, messaging on FB) Content (advertising) poke Trebor Scholz 07 read upload, listen, buy music 67
  68. 68. Our identity is defined by our consumptive activity. 68
  69. 69. A crucial phenomenon of the Web is that of captive community. Users contribute their content to social environments and are not able to take it with them if they wish to leave (e.g., when you have uploaded years of your home videos on YouTube and photos on Flickr). User's friends are concentrated in only a few places, which is a key motivating factor for people to congregate there. Content, therefore, is also concentrated, which makes these sites more attractive. This captivity is not accidental but is rather central to startup business strategies. 69
  70. 70. 70
  71. 71. Resistance 71
  72. 72. In September 2006 communal negotiating power was made apparent when 741,000 users joined the group against the introduction of the RSS feed on Facebook. The company withdrew the feature. In the past, such joint action of consumers was not as easy. Today's information flows make it simpler to organize such a quot;rebellion.quot; <http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/09/06/facebook-users-revolt-facebook-replies/> 72
  73. 73. 73
  74. 74. - end - please direct comments, additions, etc to trebor@thing.net 74
  75. 75. 75
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