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May 23, 2014

Pope Francis’ Facebook snub highlights different mentalities of social networks

Why so abusive, Facebook?

By Cbr Rolling Blog

Despite prolonged efforts to get the Catholic world’s number one to join Facebook, the Vatican is having none of it.

As reported by Quartz, Facebook reps visited the Vatican recently to argue in cause of Pope Francis joining the world’s largest social network, but the church’s media strategy top dog, Claudio Maria Celli, told them Francis won’t be joining for fear of abusive comments.

The move seems a little odd; not least because Pope Francis said that the Internet is a "gift from God," but as Francis also has a Twitter account with just over four million followers.

The @Pontifex account, which Francis took over from previous Pope Benedict in 2012, was pushed as another medium of gospel communication – reaching millions more worshippers daily in over nine different languages (there is a special Papal Twitter unit dedicated to this task).

These decisions go far to highlight the disparity of use between Twitter and Facebook. That is, Twitter is perceived to be a much more communicative, news-carrying platform, with a higher average user age and a pedestal for public political and moral discussion.

On the other hand, despite Facebook’s user dominance, Zuckerberg’s creation is a more of an insular social network that is used strictly as a platform for keeping in touch with friends and generally, it seems, being abusive about women/LGBTQ/celebrities/men/religion/politics…in fact, just about anything under the Sun. Go on any of the popular ‘Lol’ fan pages that over the past few years have become so visible, and it will only take you mere seconds to find a comment from a user discriminating against a race, a sex, a belief, or a bodily image. Why are users so happy to be seen doing this on Facebook, whereas on Twitter (despite these high profile abuse cases) users seem to be much more conversational, respectful, and generally of a higher IQ?


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