The Church of England has recently issued a set of social media guidelines it believes users should follow in order to overcome issues of safety and wellbeing, and make these platforms a generally happier and safer place.
The charter is based upon five principles – kindness, truth, togetherness, welcome and inspiration – whilst also giving advice on the spread of fake news and the welfare of vulnerable adults and children who use these platforms.
The introduction of this digital charter comes after the Archbishop of Canterbury visited the UK headquarters of social media giant Facebook. During a live question and answer session that was streamed on Facebook, Archbishop Justin Welby urged the public to show kindness while on these platforms and to put out the truth.
The Church released its social media guidelines in a press release on Monday, and these will be enforced on social media accounts being run by the Church, which includes the accounts of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York and the Church of England account itself.
Anyone that fails to adhere to these guidelines while interacting with these accounts will find that they may be blocked, with any inappropriate content being reported and deleted. Users were also reminded that what is posted online could remain there forever, and that they are accountable for their own posts and actions.
It is also encouraging people to voluntarily sign up to the charter and commit themselves to making the internet a better place for all.
Welby noted that social media users often forget that they are taking about people and to people when they are posting on these platforms, and highlighted that users should interact with each other online as they would do if they were face to face.
The Church hopes that the guidelines will not only be followed by Christians, but also by those of other faiths and those without religious beliefs.
Welby acknowledges that social media has transformed the way people go about their lives and that social media is good for immediate and interactive conversations, but it also comes with many downsides should users choose to ignore the common sense and judgements shown in other aspects of their lives.
The Church wishes to have an online presence and wants to work alongside companies in the sector to ensure that these platforms are an enlightening and safe place for everyone to use.