Pope joins Instagram, wants to spread mercy

Technically Incorrect: Pope Francis is expanding his social-media reach. You have to get followers wherever you can.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


A new journey for the pope.

Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

No, he didn't post a picture of his puttanesca from a San Marino trattoria.

At least not yet.

Pope Francis, one of the more warm, outgoing papal presences, has expanded his social-media presence by creating an Instagram account.

Using the handle Franciscus, the Pope said his aim was "to walk with you along the way of God's mercy and tenderness."

We could all do with a little mercy and tenderness these days. So much in the world seems to revolve around mercilessness and severity.

The pope's Instagram account has already amassed more than 705,000 followers. He's following no one, not even God.

Popes have consistently used social media to communicate their simple messages. Pope Benedict, who stepped down under strange circumstances to make way for Francis, joined Twitter in 2012. The @Pontifex account was taken over by Francis and now enjoys almost 9 million followers.

On Saturday, Francis tweeted that his Instagram account was "a new journey."

The pope doesn't have a Facebook account. In 2014, Vatican cardinals explained that they were worried he'd get too much abuse.

You might imagine that Instagram is more serene. However, even though he's posted only two pictures of himself, in prayer, the Instagram comments haven't been universally reverend.

Of course, there's a certain tension in the pope in journeying to social media. Last year, he begged humanity to stop swearing, get off its gadgets and talk human-to-human.

Perhaps he knows that the demon of technology isn't easily defeated.

So he's decided to step further into the den of iniquity to take up the fight.

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