二○一九年三月二十三日／三月二十四日 Click here for English version
3 月 15 日新西蘭基督城發生了一宗震驚世界的槍殺事件。一名槍手在當地兩間清真寺開槍，造成至少 50 人死亡、多人受傷的慘劇。基於事件的本質，宗教仇恨、種族主義、極端政治思想、及槍械管制等議題再次成為社會的討論焦點。然而，事件亦揭示了一個今天網絡世界不能忽視的問題：社交媒體的使用。
Lead Us Not into Temptation
Rev Raymond Chan
The world was shocked on March 15 when a gunman opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing at least 50 people and injuring many others. The massacre renewed debate on topics such as racist and religious hate crimes, extreme political ideologies and gun control. Nevertheless, the incident also exposed a question that our Internet world cannot evade today: the use of social media.
Prior to the mass shootings, the perpetrator had publicized his political ideology on a number of social media platforms. Even more horrific was that the process of the killings was broadcast live on the social media. The crime video, lasting almost 17 minutes, revealed that the gunman had a camera mounted on his forehead so the audience saw what he saw. The footage was widely shared. In view of the seriousness of the matter, many social media organizations quickly removed the video from their platforms. Facebook said it removed 1.5 million videos of the attack in the first 24 hours.
The POV video broadcast was not only intended to let people see his action but also to see it firsthand, or "participate" in his action! What is more provoking is that the video about the killing of the innocent was so widely shared. Is it because those in the video were not known by the sharers? 1.5 million is no small number! It must have gone astronomical by now had the service providers not terminated the distribution.
Today, we are accustomed to the social media. But has it ever occurred to you how much it affects the way you think? Two noteworthy points: 1) The social media has become a tool for imparting ideologies. I have mentioned above how the gunman used the social media to convey his claims. It is nothing new. Such a method of promotion is being used by many organizations today. Some organizations even spend huge amounts of money trying to manipulate or steer the media in order to advance their agenda or make people join their ranks. 2) The social media tends to make people lose goodness. The social media is originally intended for communication. Nevertheless, to show that they are in the right, many people have resorted to personal attacks so that bullying online is rampant. Some others, in trying to maximize patronage (for cash returns) of their piece on the social media, will say what the audience wants to hear, enlisting fake or offensive information where necessary. The 1.5 million shared viewings are a clear example.
The social media has practical values and it is impractical for its use to be banned. But we can pray like this: Lord, have I gone overboard in my use of the social media? Am I spending time every day to aimlessly search for information that is hardly meaningful? Should I not be spending more time studying Your Word so I can discern right and wrong in a world of specious assertions? Have I replaced true fellowship with brothers and sisters with the social media? Should I not spend more time contemplating Your goodness so I can treat others with goodness? Lord, have mercy on me. Amen.