The Vatican has asked Instagram to investigate the account of Pope Francis, which may have been hacked for tasteless advertising.
Are there limits to the omnipresence of social networks? In recent days, this has been a topic that has been discussed by more than one Vatican City prelate.
The affair would be something to smile about, if it were not likely to harm the image of the Church: on November 13, 2020, the Instagram account of the successor of St. Peter - @Franciscus - marked with “liked” the more than suggestive picture of a somewhat famous Italian model.
The Holy See press room did not find out until the next day, and again, thanks to the alert launched across the Atlantic by the Catholic News Agency. The aforementioned photograph then disappeared, without any other form of commentary.
A few days later, on November 20, it was learned that the Vatican had asked Instagram to open an investigation because, having been verified, no one inside the Leonine compound could be responsible for the digital blunder.
“We can exclude that the mention 'like' came from the Holy See, which has turned to Instagram for an explanation,” a Vatican communications official told AFP.
The Sovereign Pontiff’s Instagram account has 7.3 million subscribers, and never “follows” anyone or comments on any content. It is managed - like its Twitter account @pontifex - by a team within the Vatican.
However, it is not known what devices are used to update the social networks of the Roman Pontiff. It is still unclear whether those who oversee the pope’s accounts use their personal accounts from the same devices, which would create many potential digital vulnerabilities: it should be remembered, Instagram allows logging into multiple accounts on a single device.
The agency which manages the communication of the Italian model reported by the account @Franciscus, was quick to exploit the event, claiming to have received “the official blessing of the Pope.” As the young woman wrote on her account: “On that day I was blessed, you could be too.”
An unfortunate sequence that once again reminds us of the caution that must guide users of social networks which, in the Vatican as elsewhere, constitute so many potential targets for ever-expanding cybercrime.
Not to mention the risks of addiction, of taking a step back from an event, or losing the taste for the intellectual effort necessary to delve into a subject in depth. The digital highways, when left unchecked, become like hell: paved with good intentions.