Evangelical Christians in Brazil claim that the alternative social network has gained 100,000 members since its launch last month.
Swearing and erotic content are completely prohibited on the new alternative to Facebook, which is known as Facegloria. A banned list of words runs to over 600 entries, and users push an “Amen” button to show their support for a post, writes Zoe Kleinman for the BBC.
Facebook’s alternative: Religion plays an important role in Brazilian society
Facegloria is only available is Portuguese for now, but the company plans to offer other languages and a mobile app in the future.
Brazil’s official website claims that only 1% of residents do not believe in “a God or a supreme being in some form or another.” The majority of Brazilians are Roman Catholic, making them the world’s largest population, but the Evangelical movement is making serious strides in the country.
“On Facebook you see a lot of violence and pornography. That’s why we thought of creating a network where we could talk about God, love and to spread His word,” web designer Atilla Barros told AFP.
Barros set up the alternative Facebook along with three co-founders. They are backed by a $16,000 investment from Acir dos Santos, mayor of Ferraz de Vasconcelos, in whose office the founders used to work.
“Our network is global. We have bought the Faceglory domain in English and in all possible languages. We want to take on Facebook and Twitter here and everywhere,” he said.
Technology and religion combine
A growing number of initiatives bring religion and technology together. Programmer John Graham-Cumming told the BBC that there are “some [programming] languages which have some religious symbols, the most notable is a language called Perl.”
“It was written by Larry Wall who is a Christian, and who has expressed that Christian faith, and within the language there are little clues about that. One of the key words is ‘bless’ – you can bless something, and it has a technical meaning,” he continued.
A Christian operating system called TempleOS, which features Biblical quotes and references, has also been built by developer Terry Davis.
“TempleOS is God’s official temple. Just like Solomon’s temple, this is a community focal point where offerings are made and God’s oracle is consulted,” according to the operating system’s charter.
The Muslim community also has its own Facebook alternative. Ummaland launched in 2013 and boasts approximately 329,000 members. Female users are offered “extended privacy settings” and the network publishes Islamic quotes on a daily basis.