ROME — It’s official, but no big surprise: Pope Francis is now the most-talked-about person on Facebook, according to information released Dec. 10 by the social media giant.
Pope Francis took the top spot, followed closely by Royal Baby George.
For the 77-year-old prelate who has been pope a mere nine months, it’s the latest sign of the influence he’s having not just on the church, but the wider culture. Recently, Italian media reported that the Italian version of the pontiff’s name, Francesco, surged to the top spot among names for newborns. The pope has sparked a rise in church attendance across Italy and helped fuel a tourist boom in Rome.
Facebook, which has 1.2 billion users worldwide, isn’t the only social media site where the pope is trending. Francis’ Twitter followers have surpassed 10 million, making him one of the 50 most-followed Twitter personalities. In addition, a July survey from a group called Twiplomacy said the pope’s average tweet on his @Pontifex account is re-tweeted an average of 8,000 times.
The Facebook survey shows the pope pushed past many other personalities, including Miley Cyrus and South African leader Nelson Mandela.
Among the most talked-about topics on Facebook this year:
1. Pope Francis
3. Royal Baby
5. Margaret Thatcher
6. Harlem Shake
7. Miley Cyrus
8. Boston Marathon
9. Tour de France
10. Nelson Mandela
Eric J. Lyman writes for Religion News Service.