The Pope and The Internet

Pope Francis will make his Instagram debut this week, under the handle Franciscus, the Vatican has confirmed.

The pontiff chose Saturday as the date for his debut on the celebrity-dominated social medium as it marks the third anniversary of his inauguration as the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

The move represents the latest plank of a Vatican social media strategy designed to ensure Francis’s message reaches a maximum number of believers and non-believers across the world, with particular focus on the younger generation.

Francis is already a major player on Twitter. Under the @Pontifex handle he tweets in nine languages, including Latin, with the English account followed by nearly 9 million people and the Spanish one by more than 11 million.

The move to join Instagram has been anticipated for some time as it is now bigger and faster-growing than Twitter, with some 400 million users worldwide.

Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s CEO and co-founder, met Francis at the Vatican last month, later revealing they had discussed “the power of images to unite people across different cultures and languages”.

In a post on his own Instagram account, Systrom said: “It was by far one of the most memorable experiences of my life!”

(TheGuardian)

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