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Pope Francis meets with Instagram CEO to explore using 'the power of images to unite people'

Pope Francis has met with Instagram chief executive Kevin Systrom today (26 February) to discuss the power of pictures and how they can be used to "unite people across borders, cultures and generations."

Systrom had an audience with the pontiff today to talk about digital snaps, and presented the Vatican leader with a book of 10 specially curated Instagram photos according to Time.

Images in the book apparently included scenes from the European refugee crisis and last year's Nepal earthquake and Baltimore protests

The Instagram boss took to the platform to commemorate the meeting, and said: "We spoke about the power of images to unite people across different cultures and languages. It was by far one of the most memorable experiences of my life!"

Though Pope Francis doesn't have an official Instagram account, he has been the most digital pontiff to date and is a frequent Twitter user with more than seven million followers on the platform.

The religious leader is also notably absent from Instagram's sister company Facebook. In 2014, Vatican officials said the Catholic church was too worried about the levels of abuse he would receive on the world's biggest social network to create an account.

At the end of 2015 he published an exclusive album of his sermons on Deezer, and earlier this month was cast as the lead actor feature film Beyond the Sun, set to star as himself.

Instagram has been trying to establish itself as the dominant social platform for visual communication of late and recently bolstered its curation team to improve its discovery features. Today's meeting follows the news that there are now 200,000 active monthly advertisers using the image-sharing site.

Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is The Drum's breaking news and social media reporter, covering how brands and media companies are using platforms like Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and beyond.

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