A spokesperson for the Vatican said they don't believe the "like" came from anyone running the pope's social media

By Rachel DeSantis
November 20, 2020 03:46 PM
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Pope Francis
| Credit: Andrew Medichini/AP/Shutterstock

The Vatican has reportedly launched an investigation after the Instagram account belonging to Pope Francis “liked” a picture of a Brazilian model in schoolgirl lingerie.

Natalia Garibotto shared a photo to her Instagram feed in early October showing her putting books into a locker while wearing a crop top, miniskirt and little else.

By Nov. 13, the pope’s official Instagram account, @franciscus, had liked the photo — though it was unliked one day later, after the Catholic News Agency reported on it and asked for comment, according to the outlet.

A spokesperson for the Vatican Press office said officials are looking into the “like” and how it happened, though they believe it did not come from the team that runs the account, the Guardian reported.

“We can exclude that the ‘like’ came from the Holy See, and it has turned to Instagram for explanations,” the spokesperson told the outlet.

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Added Vatican Press office director Matteo Bruni to NBC News: “We are studying what happened with the help of the competent office at Instagram."

A spokesperson for Instagram tells PEOPLE that the issue "is currently being investigated in close contact with The Holy See.”

Garibotto has taken her moment in the spotlight in stride, and has retweeted several articles reporting on the incident, at one point joking that she was “on [her] way to the Vatican.”

“At least I’m going to heaven,” she joked in another post.

Pope Francis’ Instagram account has more than 7.4 million followers, though it does not follow any accounts, including Garibotto.

Robert Mickens, the Rome-based editor of the English-language edition of the Catholic daily newspaper La Croix, told the Guardian that the pope does not spend much of his time on social media, and that nearly all of his posts are handled by his team.

“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,” Mickens said. “So he would have nothing to do with this – it’s the communications department, and how this happens … who knows.”