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Vatican claims questionable Twitter victory over Justin Bieber

Pope Vatican Today

Two weeks after the first-ever tweet from a pope, the Vatican is touting its success on the social media platform. An article on official news site The Vatican Today claims that the pope's account is "exceeding pop stars like Justin Bieber in the percentage and number of retweets of his messages," citing 1.2 million retweets of @pontifex's first tweet from over 2 million followers. It's not clear where the Vatican got that 1.2 million figure, however: tallying up the retweets across the pope's eight foreign language accounts currently gives a total of 115,407, with all of the accounts together accumulating 2,115,421 followers at the time of this writing.

Even with the miscount, the Vatican is correct that the pope's first message had a greater percent of retweets per follower than Bieber's highly-retweeted message honoring a six-year-old fan's battle with cancer. It's hardly the most telling stat, considering Bieber's 31.7 million followers, but the Vatican suggests that it shows "a broader trend...[that] a lot is being said about spirituality and religion" on Twitter. However, it may just reveal that the Vatican doesn't quite understand the social network yet.

The Verge
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