As of Sunday, Pope Francis crossed the twelve-million mark for his Twitter following in English – which, while an undeniably impressive number, doesn’t yet place him in the Top 100 of Twitter accounts in English with the most followers.
Yet combining all of the pontiff’s nine Twitter accounts in various languages, Francis claims a total following on the social media platform of 36.2 million, including a hefty 13.5 million in Spanish. That’s good enough to place him in the Top 30 of most-followed people on Twitter, one spot ahead of the rapper Drake and just behind Bill Gates.
According to an analysis by Twiplomacy, a group that tracks the social media use of world leaders, as opposed to celebrities and athletes, Pope Francis currently has the highest Twitter following of them all, although U.S. President Donald Trump is closing in fast.
As of Aug. 6, Trump had 35.2 million Twitter followers. Legendarily, Trump is known for his aggressive use of Twitter to trumpet accomplishments, bash enemies, and object to what he often sees as biased news coverage of his administration.
Pope Francis, on the other hand, generally Tweets far less often, and uses his account to deliver generalized spiritual exhortations.
However, he does occasionally wade into hot-button political debates. A June 30 Tweet on the Charlie Gard case, for instance, was widely seen as a statement of support for the infant’s parents in their court battle to seek experimental treatment, as well as a correction of a previous Vatican statement on the situation.
Pope Francis is also by far the most followed religious leader on Twitter, easily outpacing the Dalai Lama, who has 14.1 million followers.
The pope’s totals for the nine languages in which he maintains a Twitter account are as follows:
- Spanish: 5 million
- English: 12 million
- Italian: 5 million
- Portuguese: 8 million
- Polish: 890,000
- French: 850,000
- Latin: 823,000
- German: 823,000
- Arabic: 378,000