Displaying items by tag: Social media
Historic and spontaneous protests rocked Cuba on 11 July, taking the communist government and the international community by surprise by their intensity and numbers. Analysts say there will not be immediate changes to one-party communist rule, but it’s a watershed moment and they have put an enormous amount of pressure on the government to speed up reforms. Cubans experiencing food and medicine shortages, increasing Covid-19 cases, inflation, rising prices and long power cuts chanted ‘Freedom’ and ‘We want change’, while holding signs that read ‘Down with dictatorship’. Journalist Yoani Sánchez tweeted, ‘We were so hungry, we ate our fear.’ Dr. Teo Babun said dissent has been brewing in the church for months. Evangelicals and Catholics have been generating a tremendous amount of social media, demanding the government pay attention to the hurt taking place. Political changes depend on whether demonstrators continue the momentum that stunned so many on 11 July.
Justin Welby said, ‘The world is facing a crisis of truth. Claims and counterclaims about the virus, vaccines and the effectiveness of government responses take centre-stage globally. Conspiracy theories circle the globe; misinformation causes repercussions. We need to learn to judge the information we receive, think critically and kindly, and act accordingly.’ There has been a rise in conspiracy theories, anti-vaccination campaigns and growing confusion as people question whether Covid-19 is really a threat. Social media stand accused of spreading misinformation faster than reliable facts and corrections. Is the vaccine safe? Are the statistics accurate? How likely am I to get Covid? The postmodern idea of all truth being relative falls far short of the mark when the truth can save your life.
At the height of the recent riots in Northern Ireland, Leading The Way launched a social media campaign. ‘After seeing the riots in Belfast, we decided to reach out on social media to young people across the city with these messages of hope from Dr. Youssef, as well as offering a free Finding True Peace booklet.’ The scale of the response was surprising, unexpected - and a huge answer to many prayers! On Facebook, tens of thousands of young people watched the videos. Nearly 400 people visited the Finding True Peace website, which explains how Jesus provides the only hope to people who increasingly need to know the love of God in their lives. On YouTube, over 17,000 people watched the video. 30% were under 24 years of age, and from Northern Ireland. See
Without warning and with no explanation, Twitter suspended the accounts of Voice for Justice UK, ParentPower, 40 Days UK, and RSE Authentic. Twitter has not responded to requests for an explanation and for reinstatement. All four UK organisations are conservative and support traditional family values in education, seeking to protect children from abuse and exploitation. They also seek to uphold Christian belief and freedom of speech. None of them has at any time expressed or endorsed views contrary to or prohibited by Twitter’s terms of service. On the contrary, while supporting the family and upholding traditional moral values, all four respect individual freedoms and the right of choice, and campaign for children to be protected from exposure to materials that will cause demonstrable harm.
A Christian ministry has been targeted by activists because it offers help to people who want to move away from same-sex attraction or behaviours. Core Issues Trust (CIT) is a non-profit Christian ministry that supports men and women voluntarily seeking change in sexual preference and expression. Led by Mike Davidson, the group has received abusive calls and messages, and been dropped by multiple service providers since being targeted through a social media campaign. It has now heard from Barclays Bank that its accounts are closed. Barclays is a top-ranking employer on Stonewall’s list. The Christian Legal Centre is supporting CIT as it seeks to resolve these issues. CIT said, ‘The term “conversion therapy” is being used as a catch-all phrase to discredit any help that people may provide to those with mixed sexual attractions who prefer their heterosexual side. This could include a listening ear, formal counselling or spiritual support.’
An old video has appeared on social media of Premier League football star Angel Gomes being prayed for to be healed of pain from football-related injuries four years ago. When Gomes was 16 and captain of the England national under-17 team, he visited TB Joshua's Synagogue Church of All Nations for a service. The video shows a controversial prophet praying for healing which resulted in Gomes jogging, shaking his legs and squatting showing he was healed of pain. This week Gomes received questions about the 2016 video and replied saying he was from a Christian family and was going through some pain issues. ‘From the outside looking in it looks crazy, but I was just practising my faith.’ He added that he didn't really need to explain himself but a lot of people were asking him what the video was about, I was just practising my faith’.
A research team from Kings College London suggests social media news sites may need to do more to regulate misleading content as people who get their news from social media sources are more likely to break lockdown rules. Its report says, ‘Unregulated social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube may present a health risk to the UK because they are spreading conspiracy theories about coronavirus. One wonders how long this state of affairs can be allowed to persist.’ The study concludes, ‘Conspiracy beliefs act to inhibit health-protective behaviours, and social media act as a vector for such beliefs.’ In response, Facebook says it has removed a huge amount of misinformation from its sites, and directed 3.5 million visits to the official NHS and Government Covid-19 information sites.
Mark McClurg, an Elim pastor, is in intensive care at a Belfast hospital after becoming infected with coronavirus. In a video posted on social media from his hospital bed, he said, ‘This coronavirus is deadly and is dangerous. It wants to kill you. It wants to take all the life out of your lungs so that you cannot even breathe.’ He wants people to take the virus seriously. He praised the nurses and doctors who had cared for him day and night despite the risk to their own health. ‘They have saved my life,’ he said. ‘I am grateful that I am living. Don’t think this won’t touch you. Don’t think for a moment that this is just a cough and a cold. Look at me and listen. If you get coronavirus and go into an intensive care unit, you are going to struggle to breathe, you could go on a ventilator, so please listen to all the Government’s advice.’
Until now, firms like Facebook, Tiktok, YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitter have largely been self-regulating. New powers will be given to Ofcom to force such firms to take action over harmful content. Companies have defended their own rules about taking down unacceptable content, but critics say independent rules are needed to keep people safe. It is unclear what penalties Ofcom will be able to enforce to target violence, cyber-bullying and child abuse as they make tech firms responsible for protecting people from such content. Pray for wise action to ensure that content is removed quickly. Also, there is growing evidence that Internet use can harm mental health, but research is still lacking. In January leading UK psychiatrists said that tech companies must be made to share data and pay tax to fund research into the risks and benefits of social media use on children’s mental health. See