Pope Francis’s online flock has doubled from 2.5 million to 5.0 million Twitter followers in just seven weeks — nearly half the time it took his predecessor Benedict XVI to build up his following.
The account @pontifex — the word “pope” in Latin — has tweets in nine languages including English, Spanish, Arabic and Latin. They are snippets of religious instruction rather than insights into the pontiff’s daily life.
The number on all nine accounts put together went over five million for the first time on Thursday.
The comments on the tweets left by followers are often irreverent and chatty, with one user asking the pope on Thursday: “How you settling in?”
Benedict launched the account on December 12 after encouraging Catholic Church leaders to use social media to reach a wider and more youthful audience.
The Vatican has said the tweets are approved by the pope although not actually written by him and are sent from a single computer to avoid hacking.