Bishops support 'Staying Safe on Social Media' campaign

Published on 17th Mar, 2023

New Zealand’s Catholic bishops are supporting a campaign to help people stay safe on social media. The campaign follows diocesan communications and pastoral staff around the country noticing increased suspicious activities on Church social media pages they manage.

The Staying Safe on Social Media campaign starts next Monday, 20 March, featuring special posts each day for seven days on Church Facebook and other social media suggesting people take such precautions as “never accept a friend request from someone you don’t know personally.”

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.

Such suspicious activities have been noted in all six Catholic dioceses, on parish social media and other Church social media such as the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Enquiry Centre Facebook pages.

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 has helped initiate Staying Safe on Social Media. She says the main concern is that people might not be aware of the possibility of fake profiles, and therefore risk being taken advantage of.

“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,” Isabella 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 [linked  below] 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.”

The resources are here:

Have a question? We can help. Get in touch with the Diocese.