Vatican probes how Pope Francis's Instagram account 'liked' model's photo

The Vatican is investigating after the pope’s official Instagram account ‘liked’ a photo of a scantily clad model.

Brazilian model Natalia Garibotto joked she was ‘going to heaven’ after the ‘like’ was visible on her post last Friday. 

A Vatican spokesperson said Pope Francis was not involved in the incident, with a communications team responsible for managing his social media accounts.

In the photo liked by his account, Ms Garibotto is dressed as a schoolgirl, wearing a short tartan miniskirt and white garter stockings while leaning up against a school locker.

The image was ‘unliked’ a day later, according to the Catholic News Agency (CNA).

Ms Garibotto’s management company COY Co has enjoyed the publicity after the incident.

The business reposted the image on Instagram last Friday, with a caption claiming the company had ‘received the POPE’S OFFICIAL BLESSING’.

A Vatican spokesperson told The Guardian: ‘We can exclude that the ‘like’ came from the Holy See, and it has turned to Instagram for explanations.’

Pope Francis – who has been head of the Catholic Church since 2013 – has 7.4 million Instagram followers and was the most popular world leader on the platform in 2017.

While he approves things to be put up online in his name, he does not post himself.

Robert Mickens, editor of the English-language edition of the Catholic daily newspaper La Croix said the pope would ‘have nothing to do with this’.

He wrote: ‘The pope is not like Donald Trump, he’s not sitting around using his phone or computer to tweet all day long.

‘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.’

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