Facebook Inc. has reportedly launched a new prayer request feature which enables users to request prayers for illnesses, upcoming job interviews, and other challenges.
After a prayer post is created by a user, other users can like it or respond using other reactions, leave a comment or send a direct message. They can also tap the ‘I prayed’ button which the social media giant has recently unveiled.
Moreover, members of the prayer groups are asked to share the requests which were answered on Friday every week, post which some get shoutouts in the Sunday morning livestream services.
For the record, Facebook initially started testing this feature back in December 2020 in an effort to support faith communities across the U.S.
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns, faith and spirituality communities have started using Facebook and other social media platforms increasingly to connect to others, which appearts to have motivated the company to explore new tools.
Robert Jeffress, the Reverend of First Baptist Church in Dallas reportedly said that Facebook and other social media platforms are an ideal medium to spread the Gospel of Christ and connect believers with one another amid the ongoing pandemic. He further added that users should be careful while using such tools and not misuse them for wrong purposes.
While this move has been received enthusiastically by many religious leaders of different faiths, some users have shown concerns over Facebook’s privacy and data policy.
Meanwhile, other users have backed Facebook’s new update, citing that it will help supporting those who are isolated in the pandemic-induced environment or struggling with financial, mental, or health issues.
However, it is worth noting here that while the social media conglomerate uses the information it receives in various ways including personalizing advertisements, advertisers will not have access to users’ prayer posts.