The views expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the views of any part of the UK Scout Association, including Mersey Weaver Scout District.
Over they last few years, many Scout Groups, Explorer Units and other parts of the Scout movement in the UK have used Facebook groups and pages for team collaboration and communication. I've created one or two of them myself and, by and large, they have worked well.
However, things change and the world moves on. Today, Facebook is not the only tool available to us as there are several alternatives available, and, in my view, it is no longer an appropriate platform for our organisation.
Here's why I've reached that conclusion:
- The use of social media is a choice our young people should be making for themselves and it's entirely appropriate for them to chose not to participate if they so wish. Many have very good reason to make that choice and it is not appropriate for our organisation to inist they have a Facebook account in order to participate in any part of our programme.
- Facebook mines the data of its users and uses that information to generate profit through targeted advertising. We should not be insisting that our members are subjected to that kind of intrusive behaviour.
- Facebook has been shown to have profited from attempts to interfere in democratic processes around the world and from advertising targeted at extremist groups. This is not the world we should be exposing our members to.
- Many of our young people are below the minimum age required by Facebook's terms and conditions. We should not be asking our young people to knowingly falsify their details in order to participate in any part of our programme.