Thou shalt not abuse online, ordains Church of England
Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury, joined a live Q&A at Facebook’s UK headquarters to announce the guidelines and a voluntary digital charter to be signed by followers.Updated: Jul 01, 2019, 19:28 IST
The Church of England on Monday exhorted followers of all faiths and none to abide by its new social media guidelines that include not posting or sharing content that is sexually explicit, inflammatory, hateful, abusive, threatening or otherwise disrespectful.
Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury, joined a live Q&A at Facebook’s UK headquarters to announce the guidelines and a voluntary digital charter to be signed by followers. The two are based on the principles of truth, kindness, welcome, inspiration and togetherness.
Archbishop Welby said: “Social media has transformed the way we live our lives…Each time we interact online we have the opportunity either to add to currents of cynicism and abuse or to choose instead to share light and grace”.
“My prayer is that through these guidelines and charter we can encourage regular and not-so-regular churchgoers, sceptics and those who are surprised to find themselves interested, to be open to think and experience more of the Christian faith.”
The Church of England said in a statement that it hoped that people of all faiths and none will use the charter to consider how their own online interactions can affect others, both for good and bad.
It added that while the guidelines are written specifically for all users who engage with the Church of England’s and the archbishops’ social media channels, they are built on universal principles and are a resource for Christians, people of other faiths and people of no faith.
John Santamu, archbishop of York, said: “While there is a time and a place for complaint and criticism, too often today this takes place not to encourage improvement but to vilify an individual or group”.
“Sometimes it’s about counting to 10 and asking whether a spiteful statement on social media will change a situation for the better”.