Vatican says pope beats Justin Bieber on re-tweets

Reuters Middle East

VATICAN CITY, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Pope Benedict,

white-haired, 85, and a neophyte to social media site Twitter,

has beaten out 18-year old heartthrob Justin Bieber to set a

percentage record for re-tweeting by his followers, the Vatican

said on Thursday.

The Vatican newspaper said that as of noon Italian time on

Thursday the pope had 2.1 million followers on Twitter, eight

days after his first tweet was sent.

While Canadian singer-songwriter Bieber has roughly 15 times

as many followers - 31.7 million - the Vatican newspaper said

Benedict had beaten Bieber on re-tweets.

It said about 50 percent of the pope's followers had

re-tweeted his first tweet on Dec. 12 while only 0.7 percent of

Bieber's followers had re-tweeted one of the singer's most

popular tweets on September 26, when he commented on the death

by cancer of a six-year-old fan.

The Vatican said this was part of a wider trend in which

people were looking for more spiritual content.

The pope already tweets in English, German, Italian, French,

Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Arabic. The newspaper said he

will start tweeting in Latin and Chinese soon.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella, editing by Paul Casciato)

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