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Thu Apr 24 03:42:24 SAST 2014

Pope has over 7 million Twitter fans

©The Telegraph | 04 July, 2013 00:21
Pope Francis. File photo
Image by: GIAMPIERO SPOSITO / REUTERS

Pope Francis has amassed more than 7million Twitter followers - but he's still a bit behind Lady Gaga and Beyoncé Knowles.

The Argentinian pope inherited the @pontifex account when he was chosen by his cardinals to succeed Benedict XVI in March.

Benedict attracted 2.5 million followers after the papal Twitter account was launched in December last year. But the subsequent growth in numbers under Francis, from 2.5million to 7million, has been dramatic.

He has tweeted on only 76 occasions - meaning that each tweet has, on average, earned him 59000 new followers.

The Vatican has said the tweets are approved by Francis but not written by him.

He still lags stars such as Lady Gaga, who has nearly 39million Twitter followers, and Beyoncé's 9.5million. And he's a long way behind Barack Obama - the US president has 33million followers.

Francis, like his predecessor, tweets in nine languages, including English, Italian, Latin, Arabic and French.

Reflecting the Pope's South American heritage, Spanish is the most popular of the feeds, with more than 2.7million followers.

The second-largest group of followers, at 2.6million, are English speakers. The third is Italian, followed by Portuguese, French, Latin, German, Polish and Arabic, the last with 68000 followers.

Unlike celebrities or many ordinary people on Twitter, the pope does not give insights into his daily routine but instead sends out snippets of religious instruction.

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Thu Apr 24 03:42:24 SAST 2014 ::