Use of social networks: Social and civic responsibility of Internet users is at the heart of the SEPAFAR meeting

The Pastoral Service for Training and Support of Leaders (SEPAFAR) held its monthly meeting on January 29, 2023 on “Social networks and social and civic responsibility”. Three messages were delivered to the participants and moderated by Aziz Bamogo, President of the High Council of Communications. They focused on the inventory of social networks in Burkina Faso, the responsibility of the citizen in social networks and the responsibility of the Christian before social networks. As Christians, the participants were asked to only engage in things that please the Lord on social media.

Social networks have slowly but surely inserted themselves into the daily lives of citizens. The use of these new tools, whether for information, communication or doing business, has become almost normal for many. According to Data Reportal, in January 2022, Burkina Faso had six million users out of a population of about 21 million. In the first communication focusing on the state of social networks in Burkina Faso, the Minister of Communications, Jean Emmanuel Ouédraogo, suggested that the country has about 2.2 million active users of networks and social media every month., Data Report. He added that the most used social networks are Facebook with 2.05 million users, followed by LinkedIn with 250 thousand users and Twitter with 46 thousand users.

Jean Emmanuel Ouédraogo reported on the state of social networks in Burkina Faso

If social networks offer certain advantages such as facilitating communication, sharing information and strengthening knowledge, Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo emphasizes that they also contain dangers that should not be hidden. These are mainly misinformation, cyberbullying, social isolation, vulnerability of personal data, etc. There are quite serious shortcomings in the use of social networks. These include attacks on human dignity or privacy, incitement to hatred and violence, publication of strategic or security-related information, etc.

Jean Emmanuel Ouédraogo points out, however, that the regulation of social networks is complicated by the lack of specific laws, even if this is not unique to Burkina Faso. However, he mentions a re-reading of some laws that could help regulate the use of social networks. The Minister of Communications also invites us to be inspired by the initiatives of countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, where a law has been passed allowing the monitoring of pages with at least 25,000 subscribers or even more than Egypt. 5000 subscribers are tracked and monitored. It also recommends strengthening media education for users, strengthening the skills and operational capacity of regulatory bodies so that they can act on users of social networks, and finally training journalists to adapt to the new context.

Lieutenant Julien Legma invited Internet users to be careful on social networks

Following the Minister of Communications, Lieutenant Julien Legma, head of police cooperation of the Central Cyber ​​Crime Brigade (BCLCCC), spoke to the participants about their social and civic responsibilities while on social media. He pointed out that it is necessary to be careful on social media. Indeed, for 2022 alone, his institution received more than 3,000 fraud complaints for a loss of more than one billion FCFA. In order not to be a vector of false information on Facebook and other networks, Lieutenant Julien Legma insisted on taking certain precautions. It’s about cross-checking information, always checking your sources by diversifying, and refraining from systematically sharing any information you come across. Citizens can contribute to the fight against cybercrime by reporting illegal content, spreading messages of peace and unity, and playing a role in moderating Facebook groups, both on social networks and on specialized services such as BCLCC. , WhatsApp, etc.

Father Justin Zangré insisted that Christians should not allow the virtual to take the place of God in their lives.

The third and final communication, delivered by Abbé Justin Zangré, priest of SEPAFAR, addressed Christians in front of social networks. For the man of God, we must avoid falling into the trap of social networks, which often lead to alienation, isolation, lack of altruism in human behavior, and above all to deprive the Christian of God and prayer life. background. Therefore, in his opinion, even if it facilitates communication and allows the sharing of content related to the Christian faith, it is necessary to prevent the virtual from taking the central place of God in the Christian’s life. And Father Justin Zangré, calling the participants to read and listen to what God loves on social networks, because they can be a tool of evangelization, avoid gossip, slander and slander and fight against violence.

The exchange was moderated by the Chairman of the Supreme Communication Council, Aziz Bamogo

He invited every Christian to ask himself ten questions before any intervention or publication on social networks. 1-Does my publication promote the glory of God and bring others closer to God? Will he value their humanity? 2- Is my publication truthful, charitable and respects human dignity? 3- Am I not proudly protecting my cult of personality? 4- If a person in the church or outside the church reads my publication, will he be edified or scandalized? 5- Am I spreading rumors or slandering someone? 6- Am I sure that what I post today will match later? 7- Is it necessary or useful for me to express my opinion on this topic in this forum? 8- Am I inspired by the Holy Spirit in publishing this content? 9- Can I bless the canvas in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ? 10-Can I defend the truth against a lie?

After the presentations, clarifying questions and contributions of SEPAFAR members were heard. The meeting ended with a Eucharistic celebration.

Armelle Ouedraogo/Yameogo

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