Religion in Society

Vatican Bans Facebook at its Offices

| by The American Papist

From Jack Smith at the Catholic Key blog:

"From Catholic News Service. It's in the client area, so no public link. Excerpts:

'The Vatican spokesman said the move is a "normal and prudent" measure that reflects similar strategies taken by other companies around the world that have blocked employee usage of social networking sites on office networks.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the spokesman, told Catholic News Service June 16 that "there is nothing surprising" about the new ban.'

But some employees are complaining (anonymously) about the ban because Facebook has become a major news source and for many has replaced email. That's true for me on both counts.

It's also an important way for apostolates to communicate. It is the main means of communication for the Catholic young adult groups on both sides of the state line here."

More from the CNS article:

Banning Facebook indicates a lack of knowledge about how the Internet functions and how it can be a valuable work tool, the employee said.

"Given the Vatican's foul-up with communication in the past, (the online networking ban) shows they haven't learned their lesson," the employee said.

I completely agree. It's counter-intuitive to ban the world's largest social communications website while other organs of the Vatican are expanding their active presence there. On May 25th, for instance, the Pope encouraged young people to use social media.

Sure, Facebook can be a time-waster at work, but the solution to that temptation is not to ban access to it, but rather to address the unprofessional and selfish attitudes that cause people to waste time at work. In other words, the people that are abusing Facebook at work - once it is banned - will start wasting time with solitaire. And that's pretty tricky to ban.