PERSONAL GUIDELINES FOR AVOIDING MISUSE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Be conscious at all times of your moral and spiritual responsibility in using social media. Make a clear commitment that I shall not be part of spreading false information, fake news, innocently become part of fraudulent activities, or ignorantly participate in any propaganda without knowing the full background of that issue.
• Half Truths are very attractive, BUT they spread “half lies”
• Propaganda is usually concealed or wrapped in positive and emotionally appealing messages, which may seem very spiritual / honest / sincere at first glance
• Spreading messages that are targeting a person make it very difficult for the guilty person to repent even if they want to
Ask yourself these questions:
• Why do I want to forward this message?
• What is the basis on which I have decided this message is true or useful?
• Are there better ways of handling this message, than simply forwarding it?
These practical tips may be helpful:
• Use social media largely to communicate your personal message, and not what someone else says
• When you receive a message spend a few moments questioning the “truth” in the message and suspecting the ulterior motives of the one who created the message (though the one who forwarded it may be an ignorant participant in spreading falsehood / propaganda)
• Forward only messages that are purely inspirational, or meant for public information and are put out by official / credible sources, either directly from their OFFICIAL website, official YouTube channel, official Facebook page, etc. , or messages in formats that cannot be easily edited by those who are passing it on (like jpg, pdf, etc.). Usually these are in form of a poster with organization’s logo, or a letterhead with signature and contact details.
• It is a very interesting experience to type “fact check” followed by key words of the message, in your search browser (like google search). You will be surprised to know that many messages that seem so true are actually fake.
• Be very careful with donation appeals! Make online donations only to reliable organizations from their official website. Don’t compromise on any safety measures in digital transactions.
In conclusion, the warning from 2Cor 11:14 is very relevant, that “the devil comes disguised as an Angel of Light”. So test every spirit (underlying the message) to see if it’s really from God (1Jn 4:1).
- Fr Mario Mendes
19th August 2020