If the internet represents an extraordinary possibility of access to knowledge, it is also true that it has proven to be one of the areas most exposed to disinformation and to the conscious and targeted distortion of facts and interpersonal relationships, which are often used to discredit. Pope Francis With almost twenty million Twitter followers, Pope Francis is the first pontiff to capitalise on the potential of social media as a means of evangelisation, describing the internet as a gift from God. However, while extolling its potential as a force for good in the world, Francis has also spoken at length of the internet’s inherent dangers.
Pope Francis on Communications and the Digital World is a collection of Francis writings and addresses on the subject of social and online media. Here Francis ponders the ethical issues posed by the proliferation of digital technology, with a particular emphasis on the challenges it poses to children and young people who are susceptible to exploitation and cyber bullying. Elsewhere, he examines how fake news is deployed to advance specific goals, serve vested economic interests and to target vulnerable groups who are easy prey for those who spread hate online. He also cautions against becoming a society where online interactions replace real-world encounters and where we become desensitised to the suffering of others. The internet Francis envisages is one of empathy and concern, designed not to entrap, but to liberate and to protect a communion of people who are free. Essential reading for parents, teachers and all those who use digital media to communicate the Word of God.