By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With a user interface design appearing similar to the popular social network Facebook but with an “amen” button in place of “like” and a login page greeting users with images of clouds drifting across the sky to a soundtrack of gospel music, the new Brazilian Evangelical social networking alternative, FaceGlória, has reportedly attracted over 100,000 members during its first month online and is receiving international attention.
Created three years ago by four Evangelical Christians in Ferraz de Vasconcelos, located in the Brazilian state of São Paulo, the site aims to be a “sin-free” social network, banning the use of more than six hundred words including profanity, violent and sexual images, as well as, images or references to the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs and any reference to or depictions of homosexuality.
“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,” Atilla Barros, web designer and one of FaceGlória’s founders, recently told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Speaking to G1 Globo about FaceGlória earlier this year in June shortly after the website’s launch, Barros stated; “It’s a social network that will not segregate anyone, but is a social network with certain content restrictions.” Barros later added that the restrictions did not apply to images of women breastfeeding or pictured in bikinis at the beach. “The beach and nature are made by God,” he added.
While Brazil remains the home to the world’s largest number of Catholics, according to most estimates, the Christian evangelism movement has grown in recent years. The numbers of Brazilians identifying as evangelical reportedly rose from five percent in 1970 to 22 percent in 2010. The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, one of Brazil’s largest evangelical communities, has a reported 5.2 million members, 13,000 churches located across the country and abroad, and owns and operates one of the largest television networks in Brazil, Rede Record.
FaceGlória now hopes to achieve similar success in the world of social networking. Anyone can register for an account, but the site is currently only in Portuguese. However, FaceGlória founders plan to extend its reach in the future. “Our network is global,” Barros told AFP. “We have bought the Faceglory domain in English and in all possible languages. We want to take on Facebook and Twitter here and everywhere.”