The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God - Pope Francis, January 2014
Well, maybe not Facebook.
The Pope (the Pope's Vatican social media team) does have a robust Twitter presence (over four million followers) and tweets nearly every day, but you're going to have to settle for retweets and favorites. It doesn't appear that you'll be able to "like" the Pope's status anytime soon.
Quartz reports that Claudio Maria Celli, the archbishop in charge of the Pontifex social media strategy, says that Pope Francis will not be joining the 1.2 billion on Facebook because they worry about abusive comments–comments that they spend enough time dealing with over on the official Facebook page for the Vatican's news service, news.va.
Apparently the Vatican's social media team thinks that it's easy to ignore the rude and the profane on Twitter, but not so on Facebook. They're right, of course. With Twitter, you have to explore a tweet further to see all the nasty replies. With Facebook, those replies are sitting right there for everyone to see (and like, if they agree).
Plus, with Facebook's recently adopted thread-like comment system where top comments can be "up-liked" and shown more prominently, there's a good chance that enough people could agree that the Pope should fornicate with a donkey, and that'll be what everyone sees under the Pope's spiritual Facebook messages.
They're savvy over there at the Vatican, so you have to believe they've had the same line of thinking as the one above. Well, maybe without the donkey example.
Apparently, all of this came to light thanks to a recent visit to the Vatican undertaken by reps from Facebook. They reportedly made their case that the world's most-popular religious leader should operate a Facebook profile–a case that failed.
If you want to know what it would be like if the Pope were on Facebook, just imagine this, times a million:
Image via Wikimedia Commons