National Edition

Pope Francis named the Internet's most popular person

Published: Thursday, Nov. 14 2013 2:45 p.m. MST

Pope Francis waves to faithful during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013.

Gregorio Borgia, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

Pope Francis has won the Internet.

According to a survey by Global Language Monitor, Pope Francis is the Internet’s most talked about person of 2013. Not only is the pope the top mentioned name throughout the Internet for 2013, but also his Twitter account (@pontifex) was the third most popular overall term across the Web.

“Pope Francis is making the world sit up and take notice with his bold statements and radical shift in tone, and people can't stop talking about him,” reported The Huffington Post.

GLM bases its rankings on word usage throughout the English-speaking world, GLM said. “To qualify for these lists, the words, names, and phrases must be found globally, have a minimum of 25,000 citations, and the requisite ‘depth’ and ‘breadth’ of usage. Depth is here defined as appearing in various forms of media; breadth that they must appear world-over, not limited to a particular profession or social group or geography."

Pope Francis has made waves across the Internet all year, from his election as the Bishop of Rome in March to his selfie in August. He was also listed as the most powerful world leader on Twitter, according to a 2013 Twiplomacy study. His successes online have been a part of religion’s growing online presence.

Not all responses to the pope have been positive, though, as the Italian mafia is apparently targeting him. An Italian state prosecutor said Pope Francis might be a target of the mafia mostly due to the pope’s reform efforts, according to Religion News Service.

The prosecutor, Nicola Gratteri, said the reform efforts are making the Ndrangheta, a mafia-type criminal organization in Italy, “very nervous,” RNS reported.

“I cannot say if the organization is in a position to do something like this, but they are dangerous and it is worth reflecting on,” Gratteri said to RNS. “If the godfathers can find a way to stop him, they will seriously consider it."

People magazine, though, said the pope deserves the honors coming his way.

“Whether it's his proficiency with selfies, his remarkably candid takes on celibacy, gay marriage and atheism, or just the super-cool Pope-like stuff he's been doing, Francis is clearly deserving of the imaginary award we just made up called The 2013 Internet Medal of Honor. Take a bow, Francis – you earned this,” wrote Alex Heigl for People.

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @hscribner

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