ERIC J. LYMAN ©2013 Religion News Service
It’s official, but no big surprise: Pope
Francis is now the most-talked-about person on Facebook, according to
information released December 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: