The Pope hasn't opened a Facebook account because Vatican cardinals are too worried about the levels of abuse he would receive on the world's largest social network.
The predecessor of Francis I, Pope Benedicto XVI, set up a Twitter account in 2012. At the time the move was seen as a positive step in which to spread the Church's messages of faith.
However, the head of the Vatican's pontifical council for social communications, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, said during a speech in New York that the offensive replies @Pontifex was getting on Twitter were creating a “crisis” in the Vatican.
Mr Celli said that although abusive comments on Twitter were easier to ignore, those on Facebook would be "more prominent".
The Pope’s delegates post a daily tweet in nine languages on his behalf through different Twitter accounts.
Mr Celli revealed that the Vatican already spends too many hours “cleaning” the Facebook page of its official news website News.va, to which they remove “obscene comments” but leave “educational debates”. “It’s not worth doing the same for a profile or Facebook page with the name of Pope Francis,” he said.
@Pontifex, in English, has over four million followers. Examples of tweets include: “We will never be disillusioned or lose our way if we are guided by God”, “Let us pray for the miners who died in Turkey and for the latest victims of shipwreck in the Mediterranean”, “Our life has been saved by the blood of Christ. Let us always be renewed by this love”.
To live by faith means to put our lives in the hands of God, especially in our most difficult moments.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) May 23, 2014
According to the Vatican Insider, earlier this year “The Vatican assigned a team of IT technicians to look into ways in which to prevent offensive or inappropriate messages and other such material from being posted on the Pope’s page”, but they concluded it was not possible.
There are plenty of Pope Francisco Facebook pages available with thousands of Likes, but they are all unofficial.