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Social Networks according to Francis: a space for encounter and solidarity

The Holy Father, in the new The Pope Video produced by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, called users of the digital network to create an environment that respects people's human integrity. He said that the internet is a gift of God, and that it must be used responsibly.

(Vatican, June 5, 2018) Francis, in The Pope Video for June, underlined that social networks are an opportunity for encounter and solidarity, but he warned that they must be used in a way that respects the dignity of other people. He also emphasized the importance of being better citizens on the internet, making it a place rich in humanity.

"Let us pray together that social networks may work towards that inclusiveness which respects others for their differences," the Pope said. "The internet is a gift of God, but it is also a great responsibility," he added.

Currently, there are 3,196 billion active users on social networks worldwide, which constitutes 42% of the world's population. Among the regions with the highest penetration, the most notable are North America, where 70% of the population are active users; northern Europe, with 66%; eastern Asia, with 64%; and South America, with 63%.

"The internet can offer immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity," Francis insisted. "The internet can help us to be better citizens. May the digital network not be a place of alienation," he added.

"We live with social networks almost without realizing it, but often, instead of serving as an instrument for true communication and communion, they become a medium for discord and misinformation," said Fr. Frédéric Fornos, SJ, international director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network. Network and of the Eucharistic Youth Movement. "Let's make social networks places of humanization, of openness to others and to their culture, their religious and spiritual tradition, and their differences; places of dialogue at the service of responsible citizenship," he concluded.

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