100,000 users sign up for evangelical Facebook alternative

by Kimberly Pennington, National Correspondent |

SAO PAULO, Brazil (Christian Examiner) -- No cussing. No violence. No erotic content. No depictions of homosexual activity. A social media platform where users can "share the love and Christian wisdom with others" (Google translation). That is what at least 100,000 Brazilians have signed up for since FaceGloria first went online last month.

"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," Atilia Barros, one of the FaceGloria's four founders, told AFP.

In addition to promoting content consistent with biblical values, users hear Christian music and also "amen" rather than "like" posts.

FaceGloria is the brainchild of Barros and three Christian co-workers from the Ferraz de Vasconcelos mayor's office. Three years ago, the foursome sensed there was a market for a morally upright alternative to Facebook for Brazil's growing evangelical population that now numbers 22 percent, an estimated 42 million of Brazil's population of 202 million people.

"We want to be morally and technically better than Facebook. We want all Brazilian Evangelicals to shift to FaceGloria," Barros said.

Founded with $16,000 in start-up funds, including personal money from Ferraz de Vasconcelos Mayor Acir dos Santos, FaceGloria has big plans for the future. "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," Santos stated.

Barros thinks that is possible. "In two years we hope to get to 10 million users in Brazil. In a month we have had 100,000 and in two we are expecting a big increase thanks to a mobile phone app," he said.

Brazil's evangelical population has increased by 16 percent since 1980 while its Catholic population, still the world's largest, decreased by 27 percent in the same amount of time. If these trends continue, evangelicals will become the majority religion by 2040.

Anyone can sign up for FaceGloria. Its content is monitored by a team of 20 volunteers who filter inappropriate language and make decisions about which photos will be allowed including selfies, swimming suit photos, and content involving tobacco and alcohol products.

Volunteer Daiane Santos indicated monitoring content is not as difficult as it may seem. "Our public doesn't publish these kinds of photos," he said.

Facebook has been criticized in recent months for its content decisions. Earlier this year, the company came under fire for removing a video of a 12 year-old African-American boy who criticized President Barack Obama and also for allowing a video to remain of a crying baby being turned upside down and repeatedly dunked in water.