Facebook adds new PRAYER function and OnlyFans-style priest subscriptions

FACEBOOK has launched new 'prayer tools' which offer US megachurches the chance to raise funds and listen to prayer requests.

The move comes as the tech giant is said to be focusing on becoming the main social media forum for religious communities.

Monthly subscription models, similar to that used by adult site OnlyFans, allow church goers to pay rollings fees for exclusive content like messages from church leaders.

There's also said to be live-streamed church service content with advertising breaks.

Another tool lets church goers donate to their parish whilst watching a live-stream.

Partnerships have been made with evangelical churches in Oklahoma and Atlanta as well as the global Church of God in Christ.

This Pentecostal church has six million members.

Facebook started working closely with churches in the US at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic when it provided equipment so that services could be live-streamed.

Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer, said recently: "Faith organisations and social media are a natural fit because both are about connection."

Nona Jones is Facebook’s head of faith partnerships and also a pastor in Florida.

She previously confirmed that a new prayer product was created during the pandemic because users were asking friends to pray for them.

Some users now have access to a button which states “I prayed” and can attach their names to it.

There's also a "Join your community in prayer" button that can be added to posts.

Users can choose to receive reminders about praying.

According to Jones, the prayer posts are used to personalise advertisements but companies can't target worshippers based on prayer content.

Not all pastors are as impressed with Facebook's efforts as others.

According to The Times, Ryan Burge, a pastor in the American Baptist Church, described Facebook's advertising pitches to churches as "clunky".

He told the news outlet: "What church would say: ‘Yes, let’s throw in an ad in the middle of the service?

"Can you imagine the pastor saying, right before the sermon: ‘Here’s a 30-second ad for Revlon."

We've reached out to Facebook for comment on whether the prayer features will be rolling out globally.

In other news, Samsung has teased a glimpse of the design for its highly anticipated Galaxy Z Fold 3 smartphone.

The next iPhone will come in a new pink colour and start at just under £800, according to recent rumours.

And, Apple has paid millions of dollars to a woman whose explicit videos and images were shared online by people repairing her iPhone.

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