‘Make Facebook your church’
LONDON: Facebook should take on the role of a church, according to its founder.
Mark Zuckerberg said that, like religion, the social media site could offer users a sense of community. He said Facebook’s mission now was to encourage this group spirit and not just connect individual friends, as communities could make us feel we were a part of “something bigger than ourselves”.
In a speech in Chicago, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook now had 2 billion users. But he said only 100 million were active on the site and part of a “meaningful community” – which he hopes will rise to a billion.
“If we can do this, it will not only turn around the whole decline in community membership we’ve seen for decades, it will start to strengthen our social fabric and bring the world closer together,” he said.
“As I’ve travelled around, one theme is clear: every great community has great leaders. A church doesn’t just come together. It has a pastor who cares for the well-being of the congregation. Leaders set the culture, inspire us, give us a safety net and look out for us.”
In comparison to Facebook’s 2 billion users, there are 2.2 billion Christians around the world and 1.6 billion Muslims. In the UK, church membership has fallen from 10.6 million in 1930 to 5.4 million in 2013.
Zuckerberg said the decline in church membership was “striking”, and that there were “a lot of people who now need to find a sense of purpose and support somewhere else”. He added: “Communities give us that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are not alone.”
Adrian Harris, head of digital communications at the Church of England, said social media could play a role in spreading God’s message, adding: “When the London Bridge terrorist attack happened, we shared a prayer and two videos, which were seen by over 1.2 million people on Facebook.
“At Christmas, social media helped us reach 1.5 million and brought in people who don’t normally go to church at this time.” – Daily Mail