The Church of England has released 10 "digital commandments" over the use of social media and the dangers it can impose.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will unveil the online principles as part of a live Q&A at Facebook's UK headquarters today.

The church said it hoped the radical move would help Christians be aware of the perils of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The Archbishop said: "Social media has transformed the way we live our lives. As Christians, we are called to engage in a way which is shaped by the example of Jesus.


"As we respond to the call on each of us to be witnesses to Jesus Christ, I encourage all of us to consider how we live our lives as witnesses online.

"Each time we interact online we have the opportunity either to add to currents of cynicism and abuse or to choose instead to share light and grace.

"My prayer is that through these guidelines and charter we can encourage regular and not-so-regular churchgoers, sceptics and those who are surprised to find themselves interested, to be open to think and experience more of the Christian faith."

The charter is centred on the principles of truth, kindness, welcome, inspiration, and togetherness.

It also advises online users to take responsibility for what they post and to respect copyright law.

The guidance states: "Social media is a very public way of enabling us as Christians to live out our calling to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

"One of its many joys is that it is immediate, interactive, conversational and open-ended.

"This opportunity comes with a number of downsides if users do not apply the same common sense, kindness and sound judgment that we would use in a face-to-face encounter."


10 digital commandments

1. Don't rush in

"Responding quickly doesn't mean doing so without due consideration"

2. Transient yet permanent
"Social media updates are immediate and will outdate quickly BUT they can have a more lasting impact"

3. You're an ambassador
"If talking about a church matter, make it clear that these are your personal opinions"

4. Don't hide
"Anonymity and 'hiding' behind aliases when using social media is frowned upon"

5. Don't blur private life boundaries
"There are risks associated with personal opinions being seen as public statements"

6. Be aware of safeguarding
"The informality that social media encourages can mean that it might be harder to maintain a professional distance"

7. Don't share certain images
"Make sure you have permission from anybody who features in the image before sharing"

8. Stay within legal frameworks
"If you wouldn't say something in a public meeting or to someone's face – don't say it online"

9. Keep confidences
"Remember: Is this story mine to share? If in doubt, don't"

10. Be mindful of your security
"Don't overshare personal information"