‘Make Face­book your church’

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

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

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