Self Regulation as an Ethical Code on the Digital Space

Abigail Oyinkan Olajire
4 min readJan 28, 2022
Jeremy Bezanger from Unsplash

Since there are no stringent rules or ethical codes that govern the digital space, especially social media, it is expedient that every user ethically utilize their gadgets for the common good of all considering how powerful our gadgets can be.

As of now, the government including international organizations are still deliberating on the most effective strategy to regulate the digital space, but I believe that some self regulation codes can adopted by all to maintain an almost safe digital space.

Before I share my thoughts, I asked a few friends about how they self regulate while in the digital sphere. Some said:

“I make sure my information is from a credible source. By credible source, I mean popular media firms that are registered under the national broadcast commission. There are many bloggers and vloggers on social media. Unfortunately there is no social media regulation…so everything goes. The only way to filter original from fake news is the credibility of the source”.

Another opined that since it is difficult to decipher between the ‘fakes’ and ‘facts’, so “I just spend less time on screen.”

“I have some trusted sources and when I see anything from them I believe it’s 99% true and then I can share them. But when I randomly see some information on some sites that I don’t trust, I don’t believe the information, hence I don’t share”. Another just simply noted that “I google to check the authenticity of the news”

In my opinion:

I cannot overemphasize how critical it is for us to be deliberate about our online activities. The sporadic method of sharing whatever we think is trendy or sensational should be discouraged

If an image is posted on your group chat or sent to you personally about an individual or an activity, it is honestly not out of place to peruse the internet or ask questions on the plausibility of such news item. That’s simply been deliberate!

We all love to be the first with breaking news! But I personally feel uneasy when I am asked if I verified the information that I share. We probably all feel the same.

During the ENDSARs protest in Nigeria, there were a dozen doctored images and videos that flooded the digital space and these incident caused what I can call preventable emotional and economic havoc to Nigerians and those in diaspora.

Jorge Franganillo from Unsplash

Sometimes, I wonder why and how individuals take their time to edit fake images with their gadgets and go ahead to spread. What usually goes through their minds when such images are shared and what exactly do they really desire to achieve?

Secondly, an individual should be able to share their works via the digital space without fear of their rewards deprived of them.

It is almost seamless to use a beautiful image on your twitter page without acknowledging the intellectual owner since no one will have the time to ask whether it was yours or not.

It is smart to share a quote or part of an article as yours, but trust me, it is petty. If you must use someone’s idea, simply acknowledge it’s not yours! That does not make you look ‘not smart’. It’s actually the other way round.

Furthermore, as humans from varying backgrounds, race, status etc, our approach to and opinion regarding life will definitely differ. And many of us belong to digital spaces where discussions are held regularly on topics that matter to us.

Certain individuals (including me) love to share opinions only on platforms that my safety is guaranteed. So, it is ethical that we are cautious enough when sharing our thoughts with people that do not agree with us.

I noted in a previous article about the manner less attitude especially on twitter where people freely make mockery of people for airing an opposite opinion.

Variety, we know is the spice of life, and how then do we experience variety if we are all defensive of thoughts that oppose our views?

As I conclude, freedom of speech as evident on social media is sacrosanct as humans, but if we must reap the dividends of this right, we must take necessary caution on our various digital spheres.



Abigail Oyinkan Olajire

I am a health communication researcher interested in creating and implementing cultural competent solutions to health problems for underserved communities.