Pope tops 40 million followers on Twitter, 5 million on Instagram

| Matthew Fowler | October 11, 2017 | 5 Comments

People use mobile phones in front of the Twitter logo in this 2013 illustration photo. Pope Francis’ @Pontifex Twitter accounts reached more than 40 million followers just a few months before the fifth anniversary of when Pope Benedict XVI launched the initiative. CNS photo/Kacper Pempel, Reuters

Pope Francis’ @Pontifex Twitter accounts reached more than 40 million followers just a few months before the fifth anniversary of when Pope Benedict XVI launched the initiative.

The papal Twitter accounts, in nine different languages, have grown by over 9 million followers in the past 12 months, representing the interest and attention of “the people — ordinary people, Christians and non-Christians, political leaders — for the Holy Father’s tweets,” the Vatican Secretariat for Communication said Oct. 11.

The accounts, it said, are a way for Pope Francis to personally connect with people around the world.

“Every day, through his tweets, Pope Francis makes himself available to men and women through social media, at times offering a spiritual thought,” it said, “other times sharing with his followers a reflection on events of great significance for the international community.”

The secretariat’s prefect, Msgr. Dario Vigano, told Vatican Radio that “the pope takes great care of his social profiles, to such an extent that he closely and carefully checks all the tweets, which are then published.”

It shows the pope’s concern and “care for relationships” even over the internet, even though the pope has admitted he is not savvy with new technologies, Msgr. Vigano said. The pope knows, he said, that the web is “a network not of wires but of people.”

In a recent report on Twitter by Twiplomacy.com, which ranks world leaders’ impact on the social media platform, the @Pontifex accounts had the second-most followers among world leaders, only 200,000 followers behind the U.S. president, @realDonaldTrump. Since the report, both the president and the pope’s followers have continued to grow, with Trump’s account exceeding the 40.3 million mark, maintaining a tight lead over Pope Francis.

Twiplomacy ranked the pope as coming in third among world leaders with the most interactions and being the most influential because of his average of 41,000 retweets.

The pope also communicates digitally via Instagram, the social image channel. His account, @Franciscus, was approaching 5 million followers since its creation March 19, 2015. The majority of Instagram followers are from the ages of 25-34, with the United States and Brazil being the countries where it is most followed.

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  • ben king

    Just think if he was a decent man, and a great pope, how many followers he would have on twitter? This Jorge guy has to go, and soon.

    • Charles C.

      Dear ben king,

      Sorry, but I think you’re being a little harsh. I don’t know how anyone can determine whether a public figure is a decent man without knowing a lot more about his life then we do. JFK was a womanizer and a drug addict, yet he is considered a decent man and even a hero.

      Besides, I have no idea what standard to use to label a man decent or indecent.

      Is Francis a great Pope? How many Popes are “great?” Is he a good Pope? A mediocre one? Is he OK as a Pope? As another poster has mentioned, God can turn everything to His glory. Sure, I miss that massive intellect and theological depth of Pope B16, but it will be a long time before we see a mind as powerful as his. Maybe that’s not what’s needed now.

      It may be just me, but I’d rather see a discussion of Pope Francis’ ideas than an attack on the man.

      • ben king

        JFK was not pope. Jorge is a communist agitator, no reason to be loyal to him.

        • Charles C.

          ben king,

          I don’t know if you happen to be Catholic, I’m assuming that you are. We also may differ on what the word “loyal” means.

          Pope Francis has confused me several times. His interviews with reporters on planes and elsewhere result in quotes which are only slightly less controversial than our President’s. And, it may very well be that his approach to Catholicism contains some ideas that Communists and Globalists approve of, but we should be reluctant to say he is a Communist. The Church has condemned Communism, and I don’t expect him to be calling for it.

          In any event, he IS the Pope. I will respect him and defend him even if some of his words aren’t what I want to hear. Are you planning to support only the Popes you happen to like? Are you saying that your view of Catholicism is the correct one and anyone who disagrees with you is unfit to be a priest, bishop, or Pope? Dangerous territory, ben king.

          Besides, I can’t believe you wish him dead, so he is Pope until he dies a natural death or resigns. Neither of those are expected in the near future. May I suggest you learn to accommodate yourself to that fact as a faithful son of the Church?

          • ben king

            I want him dead? When did I say that? I want him replaced because he is unfit for this most important job. Yes I am a Catholic. NonCatholics love this pope so that should be a bad sign to real Cathoics. The teachings of Jesus are clear, and I do not make my own like the left wingnut Bishops and pope who are trying to legitimize homosexuality and toot the muslims horns all the time. They are shipping in muslims, our sworn enemies, and profiting from it with stolen monies (from taxpayers). Is there a bigger sin than this? Giving free housing to people who do not believe that Christians have any rights at all? Profiting off of stolen govt monies as a bishop of God?
            You can be reluctant to state that he is a commie but the pope does not seem to be as reluctant as you about it. He loved that commie crucifix that the bolivian dictator gave him. To have an organization dedicated to God and Jesus being run by a commie is probably the worst possible thing imaginable.
            Yes, I support popes who work for the betterment of the Church, and that is it. Some in the past have been a mixed bag, like Benedict, but he at least did a great work by reintroducting Latin Mass. Where are the good works from this pope? He has been silent about the genocide of Christians in the Holy Land and vocal about erasing borders, and unloading welfare recipients on the developed world. Jesus was against welfare that is forced, He wanted us to give on our own accord. This pope needs to go NOW