At 12:25 p.m. PDT, the account had roughly 3,200 followers. By 12:30 p.m., that number had risen to 11,469. Five minutes later, it was at 15,058.
By 12:45 p.m., @JMBergoglio had 52,715 followers. The account crossed the 100,000-follower mark around 1 p.m. and continues to swell.
Pretty impressive feat, especially considering the account is fake.
Responding to an email from The Times, Mark Luckie, Twitter's creative content manager for journalism and news, said the handle "is not the new pope's account. You can follow the real pope at twitter.com/pontifex."
The @Pontifex account, currently with more than 1.7 million followers, was reset Wednesday. The only tweet from the handle, sent around 12:30 p.m. PDT, says: "HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM."
The @JMBergoglio account clearly fooled many on the microblogging site, who flooded the page with congratulatory messages and well wishes. It features a photo of the new pope, a Buenos Aires location tag and the profile message: "Perhaps I commit the sin of humility by saying that I am a simple representative of God on Earth just as God is mine in Heaven. I and God bless you!"