Pope Francis to launch his own official Instagram account


Instagram will be able to add another high-profile user to its list when the Pope joins the photo sharing site later this month.

Pope Francis, who already has a Twitter account, which he began tweeting from in March 2013, will be launching his own Instagram account on the 19 March.

On Twitter, the Pope uses the handle @Pontifex but Msgr Dario Viganò, the Prefect for Communications at the Vatican and director of the Vatican television centre, CTV, told Vatican radio that his Instagram account will be under the name Franciscus.

The Pope's Twitter accounts span nine languages and he has a combined Twitter following in excess of 27 million. The most popular handle is his Spanish one (@Pontifex_es) which has 11.3 million followers, followed by the English account (@Pontifex) with 8.87 million followers.

According to a survey carried out by Twiplomacy last year, Pope Francis is the most influential world leader on the social networking site, averaging over 9,000 retweets per tweet. He's also the second most followed world leader, coming in behind US President Barack Obama.

Last month Kevin Systrom, the CEO and co-founder of Instagram, met privately with Pope Francis. It is not known whether the two discussed the launch of an official personal account for the pontiff but after the meeting Systrom uploaded a picture of himself and the Pope to his own account on the image sharing platform with the caption, "Today I had the honor [sic] of meeting Pope Francis. We spoke about the power of images to unite people across different cultures and languages. It was by far one of the most memorable experiences of my life!". The photo received more than 15,000 likes.

This won't be the Vatican's first Instagram venture. It currently posts pictures to more than 78,000 followers under the official account, News.va.