Social Question

seawulf575's avatar

Should Facebook be held partially responsible?

Asked by seawulf575 (10694points) May 26th, 2019

suicide rates among young people, particularly girls, has escalated in the past 20 years. This link shows a graph of suicide rates among adolescent girls.

Facebook went live on the internet in 2005 which coincides with a sharp upturn in this suicide rate. Cyber shaming and cyber bullying increased exponentially with the advent of social media. Should Facebook be held at least partially responsible for this trend? If so, what should be done about it?

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38 Answers

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

Should we hold Whole Foods responsible for the rise in autism diagnoses?

Correlation is not causation. Until we can reasonably demonstrate that Facebook is a causal factor in the upsurge of suicides, we should not hold them responsible for it.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Cum hoc ergo propter hoc.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

My gut tells me we’ll eventually find a hard link between social media and other online activity such as gaming with depression and suicide rates.

ragingloli's avatar

They should be held accountable for helping elect the Orangutan, by not doing anything against the millions of Russian bots and fake accounts.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Should fast food restaurants be held responsible for the obesity problem in the country? Come on people. Stop looking for excuses.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Should we not hold cell phones manufacturers responsible for the major amount of auto accidents?
Should the Candy companies be held responsible for the obesity problem in North America?
Even if partly responsible what is your answer, more legislation of these things, because people can not use them responsibly?
I thought extreme right wingers want less government in their lives not more.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Should grocery stores be held responsible for the obesity epidemic?

mazingerz88's avatar

Parental, school, community, government and social media company intervention ———could work together educating kids about the risks of social media engagement and how to deal with them.

You need great leadership to make this happen on all levels national and local. That might lower the suicide numbers.

canidmajor's avatar

Once again, a move away from personal responsibility. The correlation may be valid, but @seawulf575, would you not find the close monitoring that it would take of social media, enough to help prevent cyber bullying, also a frightening step towards an authoritarian police state?

jca2's avatar

FB is just another vehicle. Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram, texting, it’s all included in the mix. How are you going to parcel out FB’s portion? Totally impossible.

Stache's avatar

Young people don’t use Facebook. That’s where their parents hang out online.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The suicide rate usually rises in step with the decaying of a civilization.

snowberry's avatar

Facebook is responsible for providing a platform for gossip and bullies. We endured 2 years of death threats to such nonsense, and much of it was promoted through Facebook. There is no cure.

Even if we had filed suit (and we’d have won, hands down), it would have made the situation worse, because we’d have had to endure far more than the 2 years of death threats while the trial wound its way endlessly through the courts.

In our case, the journalists who built their careers on the fabricated stories surrounding the events should have been the held at least equally responsible.

JLeslie's avatar


Something needs to be done though. Are other countries seeing this sort of increase in suicides? That would be really interesting to know. Countries that purposefully teach empathy and kindness to young students, and that have more time off and more reasonable workday hours for adults to be with their children. I have no idea what the statistics are, but it might be worth researching.

Demosthenes's avatar

@stanleybmanly Agreed. We may be living longer, but we’re not living better. The rise in suicides is proof of that.

I do think social media is a factor, but it’s only one of many and it can’t specifically be held responsible for it. I’m not sure what’s to be done. So many kids become addicted to social media at a young age and it’s not easy for parents to control their usage. But I do think if more parents were involved in their kids lives, the problem might be better. It wouldn’t work in every case, but I think it’s a common factor in many of them.

seawulf575's avatar

@canidmajor It may or may not lead to an authoritarian police state. If you start holding Facebook responsible, they may have to actually start applying standards that prevent bullying. That doesn’t involve the government so the police state doesn’t exist. Facebook would have to walk a fine line between discrimination and bullying, though.

seawulf575's avatar

I see a lot of answers that say Facebook is just a tool and not responsible. Personal responsibility of use should apply. So let me ask…should gun manufacturers be held accountable if someone shoots someone else?

canidmajor's avatar

You are missing my point, @seawulf575 . Who will monitor and enforce the restrictions if not the government?
No one here is not saying that things couldn’t be handled better, but the idea of the government monitoring even more than they already do bothers the hell out of me.

I don’t think gun manufacturers should be held responsible, but striking a blow against irresponsible sales practices by boycotting is fine.
The same goes for things like cigarette manufacturers, as long as nobody is outright lying about their product, the individual is accountable.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@seawulf575 – You are obsessed with one thing: hypocrisy. This question seems to originate from it, and you frame every question and answer the same way. You are hoping to catch someone in supposed hypocrisy in hopes that you can justify something that you support. Besides being a vacuous and fruitless pursuit, it seems to have robbed you of the ability to identify actual principles. You’re playing in a theoretical world where mere consistency (or the appearance of) is all that matters.

You have yet to take a stand on any issue that is built upon principles. If you have one to make about gun manufacturers, make it. Don’t waste our time pretending to advocate for a police state re: Facebook.

seawulf575's avatar

@canidmajor For Facebook, it would take a couple of expensive lawsuits that were upheld by the courts to make them change their views, at least IMHO.

For any manufacturing (guns, cigarettes, etc) I’m assuming ethics are in place…not lying about their products or selling illegally or anything like that.

seawulf575's avatar

@hmmmmmm I think you misunderstand me. For one, I was the one that said the authoritarian police state does not have to be. I’m on the other side of advocating for a police state.

As for making a principled stand, I do that on just about every topic. And I’m consistent, though most of the liberal minds on these pages don’t like my principles.

Hypocrisy is one of my triggers…I’ll give you that. But I wasn’t really looking for a “gotcha!” moment. I was just curious if the apparent responses were applied only to a service (i.e. Facebook) or a product (i.e. guns).

kritiper's avatar

The Blame Game! Humanity’s favorite pastime!

canidmajor's avatar

“Change their views”... to what, exactly? And how far do they go? And why do you think the courts would charge anyone with anything when some very high powered lawyers started discussing the first amendment?
The rest of your statement makes no sense.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

People do climb on the anti -gun wagon every time there is a mass shooting.
So I think I kinda get where @seawulf575 is trying to go with this question, for gun crimes there is a need for stricter gun laws so people that seek to do harm with them,are harder to obtain, problem is the only thing it seems to make it harder for people that do use them responsibly.
People defend FB, and Cell phones to the death but there are still lots of people that use them irresponsibly causing harm to others. what is the solution?
Holding the manufacturers and creators partly responsible isn’t the answer.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Tighter gun laws isn’t the same as holding a manufacturer directly responsible.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Did I say it was???

MrGrimm888's avatar

It’s a tricky question. Mostly because Facebook is a private company.

Perhaps an age requirement, to be able to use FB, would be more reasonable. IMO,FB is simply a tool, like a firearm, or a bulldozer.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 “Did I say it was???”

No, clearly not. And your previous post clearly was no kind of implication. You just added “holding the manufacturers and creators partly responsible isn’t the answer” for no reason at all I suppose.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Facebook and other social media sites are the bulletin boards for those that seek fame and fortune via face time.
The real cause is the Fashion industry and the Cosmetic industry and the Commercials and magazines that sway the younger generations into believing that they are unworthy “unless” they look a certain standard set out by those companies that prosper from such sales.
Somehow the healthy wholesome body was shoved aside for a “fake look”, that was born from that industry.
Time to throw away those Fashion dictates and go back to a healthy lifestyle naturally.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s an interesting thought which YOU should eliminate from consideration. Following that sort of logic, which do you suppose more likely in enabling suicide, facebook or guns?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think kids tend to hang themselves, so ropes.

I don’t think there is any one factor, except it seems to be The Thing To Do. We had a Jr. in high school commit suicide just last week. I don’t think they really realize what they’re doing. It’s so sad.

kritiper's avatar

Religion would be the most responsible of all, in most cases. Not Facebook.

Stache's avatar

@kritiper has the best answer.

Again, young people don’t use Facebook. I do believe social media has an impact but there’s no way you can single out one entity.

LostInParadise's avatar

There is something wrong and has been for a while. Our consumption of electronics is isolating us from our communities. The book Bowling Alone documented this. Television contributes to this as well as social media. You can’t blame Facebook for how people use it any more than you can blame television networks. I am hoping that some point people will catch on and make an effort to connect with their neighbors.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There is of course the upside to social media. The fad is obviously a godsend for the introverted, disabled or isolated among us.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Almost anything involved with the Internet, is a double edged sword…

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