Researchers have recently ruffled quite a few feathers when they stated how it would be interesting to use social media as a means to essentially manipulate (though the much more polite word “influence” was used) smokers into quitting. The researchers suggested the possibility of having websites such as Facebook scan the photos uploaded by users showing them smoking and then having the website “politely” suggest that they should quit smoking because their friends do not. The moral conundrum that this would present seems to be inconsequential to researchers who seem determined to get their anti-smoking agenda across to people, whether they want to hear it or not.
What is disturbing about this is that the researchers seem completely cold to the fact that at this point there is not a smoker in the United States (or just about anywhere for that matter) who is unaware that smoking is bad for them. Smokers are bombarded on a daily basis with anti-smoking, no smoking signs, and in some places even their cigarette packs have graphic warnings about what smoking can do to their health. Smokers do not want to be bombarded on their social networking sites too. This proposed idea is intrusion on so many levels.