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Vatican shuts down smartphones, Twitter as conclave begins

Sharon Gaudin | March 13, 2013
Church makes sure what happens in conclave stays in conclave.

The beginning of the conclave was highly noted on Twitter. The hashtags #pope and #conclave were trending topics off and on throughout the day.

A new pope is being elected after Pope Benedict XVI retired as leader of the church on Feb. 28. He now is known as pope emeritus.

Pope Benedict, who made social media inroads at the Vatican, began tweeting in December using an iPad. His first tweet sent a blessing to the approximately 648,000 people who had begun following him before he had even made his first Twitter appearance.

At the time of his retirement, Pope Benedict had more than 1.6 million Twitter followers.

Shortly after he stepped down last month, all of Benedict's tweets were deleted. Instead of the Twitter account using Benedict's name, it now says, "Sede Vacante," which means the pope's seat is vacant. The deleted tweets now can be found on the Vatican's webpage.


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