.- Pope Francis has passed 10 million followers across nine different language accounts on the popular social media network Twitter, where users publish messages of 140 characters or fewer.
On Oct. 27, Pope Francis tweeted, “Dear Followers I understand there are now over 10 million of you! I thank you with all my heart and ask you to continue praying for me.”
As of Oct. 29, the papal Twitter accounts had a total of 10,070,848 followers. The most popular account is the Spanish-language one, with more than 4 million followers. The English-language account comes in second, with 3.1 million followers.
Papal Twitter accounts have also been established in Arabic, French, German, Italian, Latin, Portuguese and most recently, Polish.
In July, Pope Francis was named “the most influential world leader on Twitter” according to a global communications report by Switzerland-based public relation and communications firm Burson-Marsteller.
The report found that Pope Francis’ Spanish-language tweets were re-tweeted an average of 11,116 times. His English-language tweets were re-tweeted by an average of 8,219 followers.
His closest competitor by this measure was U.S. President Barack Obama, whose tweets were re-tweeted on average 2,309 times.
The Pope is also the second most-followed world leader on Twitter, after President Obama, who has 39 million followers.
The official “Pontifex” Twitter accounts were launched last December by Benedict XVI, who amassed 2.5 million followers during his first month and built a following of several million before his resignation at the end of February this year.
Pope Francis continued Benedict’s practice of sending short messages reflecting on Jesus and the Christian life after his March 13 election to the papacy. His tweets include prayers and short passages from his homilies.
Claire Diaz Ortiz, Manager of Social Innovation at Twitter, told CNA in January that the Pope’s ability to connect with his flock on Twitter “is an inspiring fact for believers everywhere.”
She described the multiple language accounts as “wonderful examples of how one leader can connect in many different languages with Twitter followers throughout the world.”