From Latin to Arabic, he modernized the communication of the head of the Catholic Church: the pope's Twitter account, available in nine languages for a total of some 53,5 million subscribers, celebrated its 10th anniversary on Monday.
Inaugurated on December 12, 2012 by Benedict XVI, Francis' predecessor, the @pontifex account in English now has 18,9 million subscribers, as many as the one in Spanish.
Accounts in Italian (5,3 million), Portuguese (5,1 million), French (1,7 million) and Polish (1 million) follow.
Even the Pope's Latin account is surprisingly successful, with a million subscribers, ahead of German and Arabic.
The Vatican posts messages there every day, mostly religious, extracts from the speeches, texts and public interventions of the spiritual leader of the 1,3 billion Catholics in the world, who will himself celebrate his 10 years of pontificate next March.
In 2022, the most shared tweets were those calling for an end to the war in Ukraine and messages to populations affected by the conflicts, clarified on Monday the Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican daily, which is delighted with the continued popularity growing pope on the platform.
“Thank you to everyone who follows me on this account, which was created 10 years ago to announce the joy of the Gospel here too. Let us continue to weave together a network of open spaces to promote encounter and dialogue and to value what unites us,” the Argentine pope tweeted on Monday.
Thank you to everyone who follows me on this account, which was created 10 years ago to announce here also the joy of the Gospel. Let's continue to weave together a network of open spaces to encourage encounters and dialogue and enhance what unites us.
- Pope Francis (@Pontifex_fr) December 12, 2022
Some observers are questioning the future of the pope's presence on the platform since its takeover by US multi-billionaire Elon Musk and his controversial new policy.
"Ten years later, the culture of Twitter has changed a lot and there is no longer the enthusiasm of the beginning," said Michael O'Loughlin, author of "The Tweetable Pope" to AFP.
“Now that people are starting to question their use of this network, it will be interesting to see the position of the Vatican, which must remain attentive to how information is used to continue to make its message heard,” adds he.
Asked by AFP about the future of these accounts, all certified, the Vatican did not comment.
The 85-year-old Argentinian pope also has nearly nine million followers on his Instagram account, @franciscus.
The Editorial Board (with AFP)