Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Vatican Bans Facebook at Work

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.

Another interesting observation is made by an anonymous employee:
Banning Facebook indicates a lack of knowledge about how the Internet functions and how it can be a valuable work tool, the employee said.

For example, Facebook users immediately posted news that in an interview aired Jan. 21 traditionalist Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of St. Pius X had claimed that reports about the Holocaust were exaggerated and that no Jews died in Nazi gas chambers.

One Vatican employee said he read about the interview on his Facebook newsfeed Jan. 22, two days before the Vatican made public Pope Benedict's decree to lift the excommunication of Bishop Williamson and three other bishops.

"If Vatican cardinals had had their Facebook newsfeed going, they could have nipped that one in the bud," he said, referring to the controversy that erupted about why the Vatican would go forward with lifting an excommunication after the bishop's objectionable comments had been televised.

"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.