#Healthcare in a New [Digital] Dimension

Written by: Sabella Fabiano

Growing up, I dreamed of being a nurse. I was (& still am) inspired by their ability to make a difference in people’s lives everyday. As you can see, that career path was not in the cards for me. So, how could I make my “dream” a reality in the communication field? I have realized that I have the ability to make the world a better place through effective communication. It doesn’t seem like much but effectively communicating healthcare literacy, cultural competency and language barriers  can build a patient provider relationship. According to Haran Ratna, author of The Importance of Effective Communication in Healthcare Practice , “Without it [communication], the quality of healthcare would be impaired.” Ethical communication in healthcare aids transparency and supports the patients’ goals to care

The global pandemic has brought prominence to health communications and has led healthcare organizations to rapidly expand. We have seen improvements in clinical services, manufacturing prescription drugs, medical equipment, and telehealth.These outcomes make healthcare providers more accessible, approachable, and can create stronger relationships with their patients.

Like any other industry, it is important for healthcare to continue to keep up with the latest trends. The overall use of technology within healthcare is great but it’s also important to build positive relationships with patients through social engagement specifically through social media (SM) platforms. SM has become a new dimension of healthcare allowing the public, patients and healthcare professionals to become actively involved in their communities.

There are Six Key Benefits that SM has provided:

  1. Increased interactions with others
  2. More available, shared, and tailored information
  3. Increased accessibility and widening access to health information
  4. Peer/social/emotional support
  5. Public health surveillance
  6. Potential to influence health policy. 

Born and raised in Boston, it only made sense for me to see how some of the finest Boston hospitals use SM. Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Dana-Farber Cancer Institution, and Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH)  utilize Instagram to create positive impacts on society.

@massgeneral Instagram Post https://www.instagram.com/massgeneral/

@Massgeneral engages their followers (42.6k) through uplifting and informative content. Posting photos of nurses, helpful hints, and hospital news allow for their audience to find comfort in making connections to the organization on a more personal level. Understanding healthcare is not easy for the average person. MGH has created a podcast to their profile providing a space that is informative and educational.

@Danafarber is a little more reserved with their Instagram profile compared to MGH. Dana-Farber focuses deeply on emotional support, providing their followers (27.4k) with quotes from survivors, friends and family members that have felt appreciated and respected through their journeys. This type of approach allows for an inclusive online support system. 

@Bostonchildrens has a high level of community interaction. Content consists of photos of patients that are light hearted and community oriented. It is pretty evident that no one wants to see images of sick children- BCH provides their patients and followers (59.1k) hope and commitment to service through involvement. I admire that their posts are cheerful rather than providing hard facts or statistics.

I am the first person to argue that SM has negative effects on society but utilizing platforms like Instagram for the greater good reminds me how important it is to be able to communicate to people in all different ways. Is SM going to cure cancer? No, probably not. However, making small connections on social networks help open new opportunities for providers and their patients. With the right intentions of social media platforms through medical communications, we can continue to see impactful change within the future of our healthcare system.

Trouble in Paradise For the Kane Family, But Who’s to Fault?

Written By: Connor Powell

When talking about professional athletes or people of the like, you usually have to take things with a grain of salt when talking about media. These people are celebrities in their own right and are constantly under a spotlight that most normal people aren’t and a prime example of this is just how much they are on or in the presence of camera’s. One of the more ethical topics in the National Hockey League has been the story of former San Jose Sharks winger, Evander Kane. Kane certainly has all the skill in the world, but he has found himself in boat loads of trouble dating back to last year.

SAN JOSE, CA – FEBRUARY 29: Evander Kane #9 of the San Jose Sharks prepares to face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at SAP Center on February 29, 2020 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/NHLI via Getty Images)

The most recent drama Kane has found himself in is with wife, Anna Kane. The couple are amidst a crazy divorce battle that keeps getting crazier and crazier. The whole ethical case we’re going to get into started once Evander won sole custody of their 1-year-old daughter, Kensington. (New York Post, Lemoncelli) This sent Anna on a spiral of questionable media ethics decisions that we’ll now get into.

After the custody decision was made in Evander’s favor, Anna took to Instagram and started posting some really revealing things about her soon to be ex-husband. The first thing she did was post a private video of Evander pointing a “loaded gun” at her. This is obviously a terrible look for Evander and should never happen, but he defended himself by saying it was a “photo shoot”, which apparently worked based upon the fact that the courts think and still think that Anna has untreated mental health issues. (New York Post, Lemoncelli) To me, I think releasing the video to a private court room is really necessary here, but releasing a private video (no matter how bad) to the public is unethical. You have to think of all parties when you deal with social media, especially when young children are involved in any way. Now the Kane’s child has a video of her father pointing a gun around, which I’m sure she doesn’t want to grow up with. At the end of the day what both Evander and Anna Kane did in this instance I believe is very wrong and you can tell that the relationship has spiraled to a point of no return for the couple.

THE 2019 ESPYS PRESENTED BY CAPITAL ONE – The world’s best athletes and biggest stars will join host Tracy Morgan for “The 2019 ESPYS presented by Capital One.” The star-studded evening celebrates the best moments from the year in sports and will air live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on WEDNESDAY, JULY 10 (8:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (Image Group LA via Getty Images) EVANDER KANE, ANNA KANE

This past July was also an interesting media ethics development. Since Anna has been so upset about the entire legal proceedings and really upset about her relationship with Evander, she took to social media once again. She first accused Kane of cheating, that their home was being seized by the bank and then said that he was betting on NHL games including ones he was playing in. Evander denied all of the claims and the NHL even did an investigation, but “could not substantiate any of the allegations. What does this say about Anna? Was she trying to take advantage of what was already known of her husband to make him appear in a worse light? Or was she trying to get the truth out there and since he is a professional athlete it is harder to “get them canceled”. Since the NHL did a full investigation and found nothing to be true about what she said, on top of the fact that the court had concerns about her mental stability, I think that Kane – even though he has plenty of flaws – is more in the right here than Anna. Going to social media and spreading misinformation is not the way to go and both Evander and Anna should look at themselves in the mirror after this entire process is over.

The billion-dollar question: Vietnam’s social media guidelines and the pressure for social media platforms to protect free speech.

By: Trinh (Tom) Ho

Getty Stock Image

The digital age moves at breathtaking speed, and how it transformed the way people communicate in Vietnam is no different. As digital technologies have become entwined in the way people connect and relate to one another, Vietnam, like the rest of Southeast Asia, is undergoing radical social transformations. Fast expanding digital infiltration and mobile technology adoption mean that people are increasingly performing significant parts of their everyday lives online. The rise of the internet and the different media platforms have become increasingly important in how the public gathers information as well as form opinions on day-to-day life as well as political opinions. In June of 2021, the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) rolled out a set of guidelines under the name 874/QĐ-BTTTT This new code will function as Vietnam’s national social media guidelines, encouraging users to share positive content about the country. Certain restrictions apply to social media users and companies, with social media providers in Vietnam being required to follow local laws and regulations when it comes to removing different content from different respective platforms. While not a definitive legal binding regulation, the guideline raises ethical concerns on free speech and the conflict of interest between government agencies and the different platforms as well as its users. Was this guideline a solution to combat the rise of defamation, fake accounts, spam, and trolls on the internet in the country or is it another way for the Vietnamese government to keep a check on its citizen’s digital movement?

Trinh Ho, Vietnam New and Old.

Vietnam is a rapidly growing country, both from its GDP and population as well as its digital media consumption. A report from Stasia, Vietnam has around 72 million active users on different social media which is around a 74% penetration rate. Vietnam is a large market for Facebook with 74 million active users and generates over $1 Billion Dollars in revenue. Late in November of last year, Reuters reported the Vietnamese government’s demand for Facebook to censor more of their platforms in the country. Vietnam is not new to censorship and regulation of speech on any type of media and for social media platforms that are run by private entities, Vietnam is approaching uncharted territories in its “struggle” for power over its citizens as the population grows younger and “smarter”.  Vietnam threatened to ban the platform if it fails to increase its censorship of content coming out of Vietnam. To not lose out on the large revenue that can be generated from the country, Facebook has seemingly given into the Vietnamese government demands as data from its transparency report,  shows that Facebook removed nearly 3000 posts from June of 2020 to January of 2021. While Facebook community standards guideline states “The goal of our Community Standards is to create a place for expression and give people a voice. The Facebook company wants people to be able to talk openly about the issues that matter to them, even if some may disagree or find them objectionable.” giving into a government agency seems like Facebook is failing to uphold its mission to give everyone a voice. The battle for free speech between social media platforms and governmental agencies is not a new topic and Vietnam remains under scrutiny on how they are imposing restrictions on media but we have to put Facebook’s ethical stance on the issue under question as the platform seemingly prioritizes profit over the wellbeing and freedom of expressions of its users. 

Young people surf the Internet on their phones in Tao Dan Park in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Shutterstock/Anh Huy.

In our day and age with the many factors that are affecting the socioeconomic landscape of different countries and societies, whether it’s false information, malicious intent, financial decisions, or government agencies’ influence, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for social media platforms to remain neutral platforms for everyone to voice their opinions. While a private entity and can change its policies as they see fit, giant social media providers such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. have the influence and the responsibility to be a space where everyone can have a voice without judgment or influence. This move by Facebook and the Vietnamese government can affect and hinder how the Vietnamese public voices their opinions and view the integrity of the firm.  For me, it’s not new that the Vietnamese government wants to track and control what we say but it is confusing to see a private entity that is Facebook to give in to the government’s demand. As for me and many of my peers, social media will remain a big part of our personal and professional lives, but after the guideline and Facebook’s action, there will be a lot of ambiguity in what I can and can’t do on social media that can affect me. 

Reality TV: Are we really getting a full idea of a person?

By Geena Levine

Reality television can be problematic to watch as it allows viewers to make assumptions about people that they only really know from edited pieces the show decides to air of them. This can lead to false perceptions of who a person really is and lead to negative criticisms of a person where it may not be warranted. 

Selling Sunsets Star Davina Patratz has been highly criticized as being the “villain” of the show in season 3. The show tends to highlight the negative things that she says and does and rarely, shows her as a good person. She is often seen on the show causing drama and conflict among the real estate agents and not listening to the viewpoints of others. 

In the season 3 finale she is shown starting an argument with another employee, Chriselle about her divorce and whose fault it really was. This has led to her being hated and getting a lot of backlash online, but is all this hate really justified or is this a product of the producers creating a character for her?

Davina Potratz during season 3

In an interview with Vulture she states that, “I can also tell you with certainty that you don’t know my entire personality. You don’t see very much of me — you only see maybe 10 percent of me. When you don’t see any other part, then your perception is only what you see: You think that person equals something negative, but whatever was shown was pretty harsh. That’s what you identify that person with, but that is not the entire person.” 

She claims that the show manipulates the footage in order to make her come off as a lot ruder than she really is. She explains how you only see a portion of who she is and never get a complete idea of who she really is as a person, because of the way the producers edit the footage. She explains in another interview with RadioTimes that when talking about an argument she had on the show with one of the agency’s bosses, Jason, “‘There’s a lot of joking around and fun that we’re having as well,” she told us. “And I don’t know if you necessarily see that, especially from my character on the show. You know, I’m not a one-dimensional person, nobody is, and you really cannot define anyone based on the show, right?”’. 

With that being said, are producers at fault for airing these clips, or is it the fault of the agents for saying what they said on the show? I think that this ethical issue becomes tricky when you look deeply into it. The allure of watching reality tv is seeing the arguments between castmates, so obviously this is what the producers are going to want to air, even if it makes the people look bad. However, I think that sometimes the producers can go overboard with their editing when portraying characters. Although they are using footage of what the star is actually saying in the moment, they are using it to put a negative spin on the character and often do not include parts of the conversation where the individual is coming off a lot nicer. 

I believe the main ethical issue here and what is difficult to put blame on is how the producers are able to create a false persona of a character, rather than the character being able to create their own persona. No matter how many positive things you say or do during filming, the producers are only going to air what they think is going to give them views, and typically that is not characters being nice to each other, but rather the huge arguments. Working together and spending so much time together outside of work, friends are bound to get into arguments, but the way that reality tv spins these arguments to create a persona for a person is ethically wrong and should not be allowed.

To What End Will One Go for the Love of a Brother?

Chris Cuomo faces consequences for “family first and job second” conduct

written by: Claire Foley

On November 30, 2021, CNN suspended its prime-time anchor, Chris Cuomo. Chris Cuomo, who has hosted Cuomo Prime Time since 2018, was suspended indefinitely for his unethical involvement with his brother’s (former N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo) on-going investigation into sexual misconduct.

CNN’s Brian Stelter (Chief Media Correspondent) reports on Chris Cuomo’s suspension

The sexual misconduct allegations against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo have been covered by national news outlets from early 2021 through his eventual resignation in August of this year. Since those allegations surfaced, Chris Cuomo and CNN agreed that he would not be able to objectively report on the subject, since it was involving his family. CNN confirmed this in a statement made by the network in May 2021 saying “Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo — on air or behind the scenes… In part because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective.” It was recently learned, however, that Chris Cuomo had been using his position at CNN to advise his brother’s legal team for his defense.

In 2020, Chris Cuomo often had his brother (then Governor), Andrew Cuomo on his show Cuomo Prime Time.

The documents that were released on Monday (Nov. 29, 2021), were not the first sign of a potentially unethical connection between the brothers, though. In May, when CNN released the above statement about Chris Cuomo’s involvement in the network’s reporting, CNN was made aware that C. Cuomo had participated in strategy calls to help his brother. At the time, CNN called it “inappropriate” and C. Cuomo was told to stop doing so.

Evidently, that did not happen.

It was learned this week that Chris Cuomo continued to use his power as a journalist to gain information from sources and other journalists about details involving his brother’s case. In depicting the information within the documents, Oliver Darcy and Brian Stelter wrote,

“The documents released by New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday included text messages and transcripts of interviews with investigators who led the probe into allegations against the governor. The cache of documents included text messages between Chris Cuomo and Melissa DeRosa, a then-top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, that suggested he was instrumental in working to craft a defense against a flood of sexual misconduct allegations. The text messages also revealed that Chris Cuomo sought to use his connections in the press to help prepare the then-governor’s team as accusers started to make their stories public”(Darcy, Stelter, 2021).

Chris Cuomo spoke about his suspension on his SiriusXM show saying, “It hurts to even say it. It’s embarrassing, but I understand it…the last thing I ever wanted to do was compromise any of my colleagues and do anything but help.”

Audio from Cuomo’s apology was posted to the SiriusXM Youtube channel

According to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, Cuomo’s action will have challenged a few subsections within the “Act Independently” category of the guidelines. It is evident that in acting to aid his brother, he neglected to avoid a conflict of interest, avoid practices that compromised his integrity, and above all, made his primary obligation to his brother (who at one point was a government representative) over public interest.

It is not unreasonable to think that anyone would feel pressured to help a family member when their occupation privies them to potentially helpful information. However, as the press is often considered a fourth pillar of government, it is the primary duty of a journalist to understand the power of their position and either maintain objectivity, or completely remove oneself from the equation when it is not possible. Chris Cuomo was given the chance to remove himself with integrity, but failed to do so.

Kardashian Kontroversy

Kim Kardashian has the solution for creating your best body, and it’s no longer shape-wear but “solution-wear.” In 2019, Kim Kardashian released the name of her new “solution-wear” line Kimono, which is a riff on her own name “Kim.” Kimono was meant to be a line of undergarments that shape and flatter the female form. But it’s not the clothes that have landed Kim in hot water, but the name itself.

Many people are not a fan of her solution. They are calling cultural appropriation on Kim’s new clothing brand, saying that the name Kimono is not appropriate for her line. Many claimed that Kim Kardashian chose the name not based on the cultural significance behind it, but rather that it sounded good and included her name.

Kim Kardashian West celebrates the launch of her line at Nordstrom

Kimono is a traditional garment in Japanese culture. It is worn for special occasions and celebrations. It is typically a long robe made of silk with intricate detailing or embroidery.

People were even more outraged when they learned that Ms. Kardashian had applied for trademarks for her Kimono lines. She has applied for different trademarks surrounding the variations on the name and its design, as well as advertising, business and retail rights. Many were outraged at the idea of their traditional garments being overshadowed and sharing a name with undergarments.

A petition was created on change.org that called the brand a “horrible cultural disrespect.” There was also a trending hashtag on Twitter #KimOhNo to show people’s disapproval of the name. 

Initially, Kim defended the name and claimed that she couldn’t change it. She later changed her mind after the mayor of Kyoto, Japan wrote a personal letter to Kim Kardashian to explain the significance of the Kimono garment and how important it is to Japanese culture. 

On her Instagram she released this statement:

“I understand and have deep respect for the significance of the kimono in Japanese culture,” Ms. Kardashian West said. I am always listening, learning and growing… When I announced the name of my shapewear line, I did so with the best intentions in mind. After careful thought and consideration, I will be launching my Solutionwear brand under a new name.”

Kim later announced that she would be changing the name of the brand from Kimono to Skims. 

Is the solution to her culturally appropriated “solution-wear” acceptable?

I believe that Kim did everything in her power to correct the issue. If she hadn’t changed the name after this controversy, her brand would not have been as successful. She had to change the name for the sake of her brand and to appease the people she offended. Changing the name was like hitting 2 birds with one stone, however I believe she only threw that stone to save her sales, not to make people feel better. 

Many argue that since this isn’t the first time Kim has been accused of cultural appropriation that she hasn’t really learned her lesson. In the past, Kim has been accused of this before by wearing cornrows in her hair, wearing other clothing and jewelry that is traditional to other cultures and has even been accused of “black-fishing,” which is when someone tans their skin to appear mixed-race or black.

So was this whole incident a big accident or just another incident in Kim Kardashians list of culturally insensitive acts for attention? We will see.

By Katie Bonney

Be famous, get robbed…you’ve earned a Halloween costume!

By: Samantha Puleo

Love the or hate them we all know who the Kardashians are. Their problems and scandals may not be of great importance to you, but one thing that I’m sure we can all agree on would be that trauma is nothing to joke about and it’s definitely not something to base a Halloween costume off of. This may sound confusing, so let me explain.

Snippet from show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, where Kim opens up to her sisters about the Paris robbery

The Kardashian family has dealt with many controversies and scandals through the years. One of the most significant events that has happened to them would be when Kim Kardashian West was robbed at gunpoint in Paris on October 3, 2016. When she was attacked all she was wearing was a bathrobe and the perpetrators bound her wrist and ankles, taped her mouth, and placed her on the bathroom floor. A lot of people had a lot to say about what happened, many believed that Kim was targeted because of the constant social media posts that she had made, one particular post showing off her $4 million 20 karat diamond ring. And of course, with this family being so famous, this story blew up. Memes were made mocking the event and there were countless articles written with all kinds of different opinions about the subject. Which in these types of situations is normal, but something else happened that wasn’t so normal. A Halloween costume called “Parisian Heist Robbery Victim Costume” which showed a model being tied up, gagged, in a bathrobe, with a huge diamond ring, had come out on a website called Costumeish. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Parisian Heist Robbery Victim Costume from website Costumeish.

There’s just so much ethically wrong with this whole situation. It’s definitely hard to defend the Kardashian family for some, mostly because of just how wealthy they are. But even more so because of what I mentioned previously about how during this time Kim was constantly promoting her lavish lifestyle on social media. But, if we look at this from the angle of deontological ethics, which say that “acts are morally obligatory regardless of their consequences for human welfare”, basically what’s wrong is wrong, we start to see how inappropriate this costume really is regardless of what your opinion is of Kim Kardashian. When you think about it, something so hurtful like this costume would never come out if this robbery had happened to an average person, but since it happened to someone so famous like Kim, people feel the need to capitalize on the issue in order to make a profit and publicity. In fact, Costumeish Vice President, Johnathan Weeks made a comment about why the costume was made, Weeks said:

“…the costume is meant to incite a strong reaction and that Halloween is a holiday that calls for some humor. It’ll make people either cringe or laugh”

Quote credit: TIME

Right away this statement tells me that this costume is for publicity purposes, to get the website’s name in the public’s mind and that there’s virtually no concern for the Kardashian families feelings or welfare. Which brings me to then look at large amounts of negative loyalties that this company has towards itself. In most cases, having a loyalty to ones self is a positive thing. But here we have the complete opposite, where a company has a loyalty to itself where it does not care about the harm they inflict onto people, they only care about outcomes that can benefit them. There is the saying that “all publicity is good publicity” which I truly think is a key strategy of this website. But when it all comes down to it, if there’s too much bad and you’re dealing with a powerful family like the Kardashians, it’s only a matter of time before you’ve got to bow down. Which is exactly what Johnathan Weeks did by issuing an apology to the family. I think what we can learn from all of this, is that everyone eventually in their lives goes through trauma and absolutely does not deserve to have that trauma used a device to benefit someone else. As a society we need to have loyalties to each other, to ensure and maintain respect always.

Gucci Family vs. Hollywood: Warranted Criticism or Unethical Judgement?

By Colleen Mearon

Poster promoting the film House of Gucci

Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci premiered in theaters Nov. 24th, but despite a killer cast and rave reviews from viewers, the film lacked approval from the very people it’s based on- the surviving Gucci family. A statement was first issued by ANSA, an Italian news agency, and translated by Variety news:

“The production of the film did not bother to consult the heirs before describing Aldo Gucci – president of the company for 30 years – and the members of the Gucci family as thugs, ignorant and insensitive to the world around them, attributing to the protagonists, events, a tone and an attitude that never belonged to them. This is extremely painful from a human point of view and an insult to the legacy on which the brand is built today.”

Despite claiming they were inaccurately portrayed in the film, there has been no legal action taken from the Gucci family. As producer of the film, Scott has been very dismissive in his response to these allegations. Understandably so, as criticism from the family dates all the way back to April of 2021-and was very offensive to the cast.

Aldo Gucci’s granddaughter Patrizia Reggiani Gucci, played by Lady Gaga in the film, expressed her frustration with the casting to ANSA. “I am rather annoyed at the fact that Lady Gaga is playing me in the new Ridley Scott film without having had the consideration and sensibility to come and meet me. It is not an economic question. I won’t get a cent from the film. It is a question of good sense and respect.” Gaga responded to this claim, expressing that she wanted to take a journalistic approach and build the character on her own, without guidance from anyone else.

Patrizia’s critiques didn’t stop at just Gaga though. She told the Associated Press that “Pacino appeared in on-set photos as ‘fat, short, with sideburns, really ugly’ and not resembling her ‘very handsome” grandfather “at all.’”

Gaga and Pacino pictured while filming for House of Gucci

It’s hard to take the claims and critiques from the Gucci family seriously when their criticisms have been nothing but superficial and judgmental. Although the film is telling the story of their family’s history, and they very much should have a say in how it’s told, it seems as though they’re quick to judge anything. Consultation from the family would have resulted in a completely different film, one that might not have been as entertaining and successful as what was released.

The issue surrounding the release of House of Gucci in theaters displays a very intricate media ethics issue. On one hand, the offense taken by the Gucci family is warranted, being that they are the center of the story and the reason this film even exists. On the other hand, their rude critiques and the judgemental tones of their criticisms minimize the importance of their opinion. From an ethical standpoint, one has to take into consideration the Gucci family’s criticisms of the film, however their handling of the situation was just as unethical as the production of the film itself.

What’s Trending: First Amendment Rights?

by Ashley LoPresti

Pixabay.com, Social Media Keyboard Icon

Facebook’s fourth quarter reports declare that as of December 2020, they had 2.80 billion monthly active users utilizing their social media platform. Among those users, posts were made ranging across different topics, however the ones I’d like to bring light to are the posts litigants bring into the courtroom. In a Time Magazine article titled “Facebook and Divorce: Airing the Dirty Laundry”   written by Belinda Luscombe, Luscombe goes into detail about the frightening access users have for information that can be used against them in court trials, specifically Family Court. 

Luscombe mentions a specific example of a husband, Patrick, and wife, Tammy, who after Patrick informed Tammy he wanted a divorce, Tammy took to his FaceBook page and began leaving comments regarding their personal life. After Patrick blocked Tammy, he received messages from friends who told Patrick that Tammy was using a friend’s account to find women he was conversing with, and send them emails telling them his marital status. Luscombe concluded her article with a piece of advice, stating that “It seems everybody — except perhaps some lawyers — would be better off if divorcing spouses gave each other some space on MySpace. But when confused, anguished people look for ways to work through their feelings, a social-networking site can be an almost irresistible venue.”

Wikimedia.org, Facebook logo

The ethical issue at hand is the typical First Amendment violation we see in most cases regarding social media – we are using our freedom of speech, and those words should not be used against us. Unfortunately, we live in a society where we are held to the standards of our words and actions, and the Congressional Research Service had published a congressional report in 2014 authored by attorney Kathleen Ann Ruane titled “Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment” which lays out a multitude of examples where the Supreme Court has ordered exceptions to this violation, which there are plenty of. Notably, these exceptions range from topics of obscenity to defamation. If there are exceptions that range through the everyday exposure we face, what about social media exceptions?

The Congressional Research Service has published a more recent report in 2019 titled “Free Speech and the Regulation of Social Media Content” that specifically focuses on the aspect of social media being governed by the First Amendment. The report raises the issue of federal law being strict when it comes to social media owner’s own regulation of their media sites, and speaks about how lawsuits that intended to have content removed were “largely unsuccessful, facing at least two significant barriers under existing federal law.” The First Amendment actually makes it harder for any governmental intervention, due to the possibility of the government stepping upon our First Amendment rights to regulate what is being said over social media.

Flickr.com, First Amendment Rights in cloud

The Congressional Research Service broke down the topic of First Amendment protections with regard to online behavior and speech by explaining to the reader there are a few steps that need to be taken first in order to decide what protections are available for use in court. Speech versus conduct is the first layer of diversity, then it pertains to whether the content in question is for personal usage or commercial use, which advertisements are considered to be. Commercial content actually has less protection than our personal content does. If the content is promoting or advocating for violence, like the issue raised in the case of Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444, 447 (1969), the Supreme Court decided that “advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action”. This decision can be interpreted as if social media users are advocating online for violent actions or behavior, then the user’s state has the right to prohibit the speech without violation of the user’s First Amendment rights.

As with most issues that pertain to our First Amendment rights, there are grey areas which require the court’s intervention, however it is fair to assume that there are no legal issues with utilizing a user’s social media content in court trials. The age old reminder of “be careful what you post!” stands true to this day, especially in the current digital age where our virtual footprint is so easily accessible to others. Think twice before you post that rant about your husband to your followers, it might be used against you later!

Cuomos in Cahoots

by Nicholas Paolino

FILE – New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo appears during a news conference about COVID-19 at the State Capitol in Albany, N.Y., on Dec. 3, 2020, left, and CNN anchor Chris Cuomo attends the 12th annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on Dec. 9, 2018. Transcripts released Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, shed new light on CNN anchor Chris Cuomo’s behind-the-scenes role advising his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in the face of sexual harassment allegations that forced him from office. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor of Andrew M. Cuomo via AP, left, and Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The last name Cuomo has been in the news cycle what seems to be quite often in the past year and for nearly nothing positive. Andrew Cuomo, the now ex-governor of New York, resigned from his position as governor this past August due to allegations of sexual misconduct. As of yesterday, Chris Cuomo, Andrew’s brother, and host of “Cuomo Prime Time” on CNN has been suspended after the New York State Attorney General’s Office released thousands of documents and messages that showed how the host was helping his brother to avoid the scandal. CNN acknowledged that they appreciated the position that Chris Cuomo was in due to his relationship with his brother as any news outlet would have loved to have the brother of the then governor of NY as one of their hosts. However, it was not until the release of all of these documents that CNN then took action in suspending Chris. 

In some of these messages, Chris Cuomo was asking his brother’s assistants for “all the best facts” (NPR) to offer reporters and news outlets. He would also ask around for information regarding his brother’s case in an effort to “help” him. Now, this also becomes a larger problem as Chris Cuomo had previously told investigators that he “was not on his brother’s team” (NPR). However, the documents released can prove otherwise. The overarching issue here is that Chris Cuomo disregarded the conduct of journalists by feeding information to his brother and his team that he was privy to. Chris Cuomo should have made a decision to either be a journalist or be a political advisor, not both because at that point you’re both creating the story while also telling it.


There is something to be said about the distorted familial loyalty that Chris Cuomo demonstrated however it does not excuse him from acting in an unethical way. When you have as much influence and access as someone such as Chris Cuomo it is unethical to use that influence in order to feed someone else information that they may not be privy to. A lot of times news outlets, journalists, and reporters have access to information about politicians that the politicians may not have access to, and for good reason. If politicians were aware of everything that was about to be said about them in the media then there would be an attempt to control that and lead to media that was even more opinionated. Jane Kirtley, director of the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota, said “journalists must understand they’re working for the public, not politicians.” This statement by Kirtley stood out because it simply defines the duties that journalists have to the people. Although Chris Cuomo continuously noted that he never reported on the situation his brother was in or tried to influence the coverage it was not the forward-facing actions that were the issue but rather the action of Chris Cuomo gathering information of what other allegations may be heading his brother’s way as if to give them the chance to squash them before the press got wind of it. This is an example of a journalist displaying a complete disregard for their duty of informing the public.