Vatican asks Instagram to investigate “Like” by Pope Francis' account

instagramshutterstock Instagram Social Network Log In Screen. | Antonio Salaverry/Shutterstock

The Vatican said that no one in the Holy See "liked" a racy photograph while logged in to Pope Francis' Instagram account, and has requested that Instagram open an investigation into how or why such a "like" appears to have happened.

"We can rule out that the 'like' comes from the Holy See, which has turned to Instagram for explanations," the Holy See Press Office told CNA Nov. 18.

On Nov. 13, it was widely reported and observed that Pope Francis' verified, official Instagram account, "Franciscus,'' had "liked" a racy photo of model and streamer Natalia Garibotto.

In the picture, Garibotto is wearing a lingerie outfit that resembles a school uniform, and her mostly-uncovered posterior is visible in the picture.  

The photo was no longer liked on November 14, shortly after CNA requested comment from the Holy See's Press Office. At the time, the office declined to speculated about what could have happened.

Pope Francis does not run his own social media accounts, which are overseen by a team.

It is unclear which devices are used to update the pope's Instagram and Twitter accounts, and it is also unclear if those who are responsible for updating the pope's accounts also use personal social media accounts from the same devices. Instagram allows for multiple accounts to be logged in on a single device.

Pope Francis does not follow anyone on his Instagram account, and has 7.3 million followers. Garibotto has 2.3 million followers.

Garibotto's management and publicity firm, COY Co., used the papal account's like for publicity purposes, posting on its account Friday that the firm had "received the POPE'S OFFICIAL BLESSING."

On her personal account, Garibotto posted a photo featuring the same outfit in the picture liked by the pope's account, and directed people to sign up for a subscription to her website.

"On this very day I was blessed, you could be too," she wrote, along with the address of her site. Subscribers to her website receive "sexy content, follow back on socials, [the ability to] chat with me directly, monthly cash prize giveaways, signed Polaroids, and more!"

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