Catholic bishops release Staying Safe on Social Media campaign

New Zealand’s Catholic bishops are supporting a campaign to help people stay safe on social media.

The campaign was developed after diocesan communications and pastoral staff noticed an increase in suspicious activities on Church social media pages.

The Staying Safe on Social Media campaign starts next Monday, 20 March.

It features special posts each day for seven days on Church Facebook and other social media. These suggest precautions for social media users.

One suggestion, for example, is: “never accept a friend request from someone you don’t know personally”.

Suspicious activity
Recent suspicious activity includes comments, “likes” and emoji symbols such as “hands in prayer” being posted on Church social media pages from fake profiles; the infiltration of Catholic Facebook groups by fake profiles; and the sending of friend requests and private messages to people within the Catholic community from these fake profiles.

All six Catholic dioceses have noticed suspicious activity on parish and other Church social media.

Though Church communications staff check and block these fake profiles as they are noticed, new ones keep appearing.

Palmerston North Diocese communications coordinator Isabella McCafferty helped initiate Staying Safe on Social Media.

The main concern is that people might not be aware of the possibility of fake profiles, and therefore risk being taken advantage of, she says.

“Our campaign aims to draw attention to ways in which people can keep themselves safe on social media. We have come up with seven key points, which we will share across all Catholic social media pages in the country – one point a day from Monday March 20 to Sunday March 26,” McCafferty says.

“We are looking for help to ensure this campaign reaches as many people as possible. If you run a Catholic social media page, please download the campaign resources and share them across your pages during the campaign.

“They are clearly labelled so you will know which one to put up on which day. Alternatively, if you don’t run a social media page but know someone who does, please send these resources on to them.”


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, Palmerston.

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