Social media and evolution of morality

Morality is a contentious topic that affects people from all walks of life. Human identity and definition are fundamentally shaped by morality, which distinguishes us from more ape-like creatures. Those who actively promote morality contend that moral standards must be followed in order to promote social cohesion, while others who are opposed contend that each individual should be free to determine what is moral for themselves and not be constrained by the wider interpretation of the community. Since morality permeates every aspect of human existence, it begs the question of whether it is intrinsic or develops via social interaction. Are individuals born with the sense to distinguish right from wrong, good from evil or are they taught to make a distinction between good and evil? The concept of morality keeps changing and therefore evolves. What may have been considered moral during the 18th century may not be in the millennium. Socio-cultural and technological shifts in the society define the nature and scope of morality. The growth of the internet and the popularity of social media point to the changing nature of morality. In this paper, I will argue using the evolution theory that the idea of morality has evolved through natural selection. This will be accomplished by examining social media trends that offer a new glimpse of what is moral or immoral.

Definition of morality

To understand how morality has evolved, it is crucial to comprehend the meaning of morality. Understanding the sense of reality will ultimately be imperative in constructing a view of what is morally right in the light of increased social media presence and use among the masses. Evolutionary theories argue that the ability to do what is right is influenced by genetics. For this reason, one will hear parents remark that one of their children is ‘naturally’ good. In the society today, values such as compassion, kindness, honesty, integrity, faithfulness are considered to be morally right. On the hand, adultery, ruthlessness, rape, and dishonesty are considered immoral. However, the individual perception of morality is varied as evidenced by asking people to provide explanations for their moral judgment. Moral behaviors and values differ from one culture to another. For instance, in Muslim countries, the skimpy dressing is considered immoral while in western cultures, skimpy dressed is moral and accepted. Construction of morality develops as one gets older and so does the view on religion that is the basis for morality (Nietzsche, 2009).

Philosophers give varied definitions of morality as used in normative or descriptive context. The most commonly accepted definition of morality is the differentiation between right wrong, good and evil as perpetuated by shared values and behaviors among groups of people. For morality to be relevant and make sense, it is usually defined in its descriptive aspect rather than normative form. According to Gert & Joshua (2017), morality refers “to codes of conduct put forward and accepted by any group or an individual.” When the conduct of conduct is accepted, it becomes the standard form of behavior and hence, becomes morally right. Morality is derived from both the law and religion. Morality is distinct from religion although most people misinterpret it to mean the same thing (Gert & Joshua, 2017). Religion is used to justify codes of conduct that are considered morally acceptable. Nietzsche (2009), argues that “morality represents a system of errors that we have incorporated into our fundamental ways of thinking, feeling and living; it is a great symbol of our profound ignorance of ourselves and the world.” People should be free to construct their view of morality and re-examine their relationship with God and influence of religion in their lives. Therefore, as people’s view on religion develops and the relationship with God takes new dimensions, so does morality also evolve (Nietzsche, 2009). Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have a lot of atheist messages or feeds that influence the declining appreciation of religion and denial of the existence of God. Since such social users have very low regard for religion, they will also disregard what is morally right. Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals has been criticized for its emphasis sovereignty of an individual because morality is not an original construction but rather a group thinking that a person finally subscribes to or not (Owen, 2008). The phenomenon of a sovereignty of thinking is easily expressed online where social media users are free to give their opinions and challenge norms that they think they didn’t have a part in developing and so seek to create their view of morality that conforms to their aspirations in life (Vallor, 2016). The impact of technology on virtues that constitute acceptable moral behavior cannot be underestimated, as the social media users increase, so does the definition of morality acquire new meaning that might unconventional.

Social media and evolution of morality

Every society wishes for its generation of young ones to be morally upright to contribute positively to the social and economic development of the community. However, technological changes and advancements, particularly on the rise of social media, are making that goal almost impossible to attain. The decreasing moral values in the society as a result of social media point to a generation of young people that glorify the wrong things because of what they are exposed to online. Social media encourages young people and justifies their rebellious behavior as lack of understanding from conservative parents who have refused to change with time. Moral values such as respect for the elderly and parents have lost meaning because young people use Facebook to express their disrespect and disregard for authority while calling their parents degrading names in the process. The society needs to instill high values into young people to enable them to cope with the adverse effects of using social media (Vallor, 2016). This is because the anti-social behavior is rife on social media such as hatred, violence, anger, arrogance and unwarranted hostility, nudity and prostitution, fraud and other deviant behaviors. It is immoral to share nude pictures or engage in sexual acts before marriage. However, through WhatsApp, people are sharing nude photos of themselves to total strengthens while using Facebook to connect with ‘friends’ that results in rape, child trafficking, and sex chatting. The normalization of such acts through the use of social networking sites has led to immoral behaviors becoming moral. Social media users through constant interaction with others have developed their sense of morality that justifies and glorifies nudity, prostitution, pornography, violence, and robbery as a way of succeeding ahead in life. In a nutshell, young people have lost their sense of justice. Internet fraud is a dishonest way of making it in life, but the majority don’t care because under the law is illegal, forbidden by religion and therefore, enticing. According to Plato (2008), people with no sense of justice lead unhappy, empty and dissatisfied lives. Without morality, individuals would endeavor to act immorally and get away with it, fearing no consequences that might arise from such actions (Wisecrack, 2014).

The current society heavily relies on information and social media generates a lot of which can be put to great use. However, the ease with which information is freely shared and accessible through social media is a cause for concern and raised a moral question of philosophical nature. Does the lack of control of sharing of information violate the moral code that information is power? Nietzsche argued that the will to power hinders progress that is limited by societal interpretation of what is moral or not (Nietzsche, 2009). We are taught to respect other people’s privacy, and that probing for information is rude and immoral. However, the lack of privacy on social media makes it morally right to access sensitive and confidential information about someone else without their consent.

Religion and morality

Religion and morality have for a long time been used interchangeably. Majority of moral values or acceptable forms of behavior are based on Christian faith if one is a Christian. According to Anderson (2017), Nietzsche revealed that God is dead and therefore, the concept of morality based on religion is baseless. Individuals should be allowed to construct their perspective of morality instead of relying on faith for guidance and justification. The appeal of religion is declining among the masses with many people preferring to live without denomination of faith, and the continued denial of the existence of God indicates a new inclination towards morality. Religion justifies morality as minding the welfare of others while neglecting one’s individual need to pursue self-interest (Anderson, 2017). Philosophers commenting on morality argue that there is no right or wrong and extreme moralization of the society hampers individual advancement (Nietzsche, 2009). The concept of morality for priests who have spent their entire life studying religion is more advanced as compared to lay people. Honesty is an integral part of morality as Nietzsche reveals that people have to be truthful to their pursuits and not thrive in illusions (Owen, 2008). Others have argued that reliance on Christianity as a basis for morality makes individuals weak. Nietzsche Genealogy of Morals, the principle of will to power supersedes any boundaries of morality as dictated by religion (Wisecrack, 2015). Power is everything, and every individual should strive to achieve it without the constraints of moral values that restrict it out of mindfulness for the welfare of others (Nietzsche, 2009). Morality also hampers freedom of the spirit. Social media provides an avenue for a person to let their mind free from codes of conduct stipulated by the society.

Morality and evolutionary biology

There has been an on-going debate on whether morality is a cultural phenomenon or an evolutionary aspect. This question has troubled philosophers and thinkers some who argue that there is not enough evidence to suggest morality evolved and indicated that cultural factors influence morality to a greater extent than evolution. Individual animals particularly primates have been known to express things close to the moral behavior of humans. The phenomenon can be explained because people are born naturally ‘selfish,' an indication of current evolution (Nietzsche, 2009). The relationship between biology and morality is advanced by evolutionary theorists through Darwin’s natural selection and survival of the fittest. The society has a way of naturally selecting individuals with perfect morals to be a custodian of norms while those who don’t fit in with the acceptable forms of behavior are eliminated. Studies conducted in primates indicate moral behavior that is a testament to the notion that indeed morality evolved. For instance, chimpanzees have been known to share food, show compassion to those wounded or sick and seek revenge for dead ones exhibiting a strong sense of justice observed in humans (Fitzpatrick, 2016). This strongly indicates that moral behavior is genetic and not culturally determined as put forth by some philosophers. Every human consciousness has inherent ability to be moral. Natural selection can produce systems of morality and codes of conduct that initiate the capacity to serve mutual benefits for the entire group rather than an individual (Fitzpatrick, 2016). Furthermore, humans can adapt to situations that challenge their moral values but still find it in themselves to do the right thing. The adaptive biological nature makes all animals find it morality right l to kill young ones that are considered physically disabled or have deformities at birth to ensure that only the strongest survive (Fitzpatrick, 2016). Similarly, moral behaviors that are weak or inconsistent are also disregarded.


Morality is the ability to differentiate what is right from wrong, good from evil. Social media has influenced the concept of morality by increasing the rate of anti-social behavior particularly among young people. Religion is used to justify morality. Therefore, as the understanding of religion changes so does the concept of morality evolve. However, as seen from the genealogy of morals, self-interests such as power and ambition should override the moralization of society. Every human being is born with an innate ability to express moral behavior. Therefore, morality has evolved over the years.


Anderson, R. Lanier (2017). "Friedrich Nietzsche", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy , Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Retrieved from

Fitzpatrick, William(2016). "Morality and Evolutionary Biology", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (, Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Retrieved from

Gert, Bernard and Gert, Joshua (2017). "The Definition of Morality", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy , Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Retrieved from

Nietzsche, F. (2009). On the Genealogy of Morals (Oxford World’s Classics) 1st Edition. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press

Owen, D. (2008). Nietzsche’s genealogy of morals.

Plato. (2008). The Republic. Overland Park, KS:

Vallor, S. (2016). Technology and the Virtues: A philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting 1st Edition. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press

Wisecrack. (2015, March 8). Does Christianity Make Us Weak? Retrieved from

Wisecrack. (2014, October 15). Get Away With Anything? Retrieved from

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price