Fake Tweets in the Name of New Pontiff Gets Twitter in a Tizzy

Will the real Jorge Bergoglio please stand up

Jorge Bergoglio didn't announce his papal election on Twitter. But an individual running a fake account in Bergoglio's name had thousands of Twitter users believing that the 76-year-old Pope Francis I was trying to make his mark as the first social media-savvy Pontiff.

The Twitter account @JMBergoglio put out a message that announced the papal election in Spanish literally moments before the former Argentine cardinal of the Catholic Church held court in front of a big Vatican City audience and TV viewers worldwide. Twitter told Adweek that the unverified account is almost certainly a fake. And after translating some posts, the messaging from the account doesn't at all pass the sniff test.

For instance, one recent tweet translates to English: If I'm the new pope, children will love me more than the Santa Claus. And a tweet in the last hour said (again translated from Spanish): Perhaps sin of humility to say that I am a simple representative of God on Earth as God is it me in the sky.

Give the Twitter prankster some credit for effort—the @JMBergoglio handle has been tweeting since April 2012. And he or she must have opted in for alerts from the Associated Press or other newswires to get the tweet out before the pope had the chance to speak.

Though it didn't take long for the real pontiff to take to Twitter. A few minutes after his speech, Pope Francis I tweeted to the 1.7 million Twitter followers of the @Pontifex account in Latin. In addition, the new pope's personal Wikipedia page was updated in real-time.