A Brazilian model, Natalia Garibotto, is currently reveling in the fact that Pope Francis “liked” her Instagram photo where she was scantily-dressed on November 13. She took the inexplicable “like” as an indication that she would make heaven at last, and her management company rejoiced that she had “received the Pope’s official blessing”.
Garibotto has 2.4 million Instagram influencers. In the photo, she wore scanty schoolgirl-style lingerie that revealed sensitive parts of her body, and wrote “I can teach you a thing or two.” A devil horn emoji had been used to caption the photo. After the pope’s official Instagram account @franciscus liked the photo, Garibotto joked that “At least I’m going to heaven.”
However, the situation is causing a lot of ripples and generating a lot of discontent in Vatican City. The Catholic News Agency (CNA) first reported the story and asked the Vatican for an explanation. No explanations were forthcoming but the “like” had been removed by the second day.
No one was sure when the photo was liked, but one thing is apparent, according to the Holy See: Pope Francis does not manage his social media accounts by himself, USA Today reports. This is done by a team of staffers. But when the staffers denied that they ever liked the risqué photo, the Vatican turned to Instagram for help to unravel who actually liked the sexually-suggested photo and when this was done.
“The pope is not like Donald Trump, he’s not sitting around using his phone or computer to tweet all day long,” Robert Mickens, editor of the English-language edition of the Catholic daily newspaper, La Croix, in Rome said. “He does, for example, approve the tweets – but not the likes – and on very rare occasions he has said he would like to tweet something because of a developing situation or emergency. So he would have nothing to do with this – it’s the communications department, and how this happens…who knows.”
The Holy See said they are still investigating the embarrassing situation, and Instagram is yet to respond to requests for information on who used the pope’s official social media account to like the racy model’s photo. Pope Francis has 7.4 million followers on Instagram and 18.8 million followers on Twitter; he does not follow anyone back.