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Photo of Pope Francis in white puffer jacket is not real

It’s an AI-generated image


Claim: A photo shows Pope Francis wearing a long white-coloured puffer jacket.

Fact: The photo doing the rounds on social media is not real. It was generated by the Artificial Intelligence (AI) art tool Midjourney.

Fact or Fiction?

On 25 March 2023, Twitter user @M_Jeffnaldo shared a photo claiming that it shows Pope Francis wearing a  Balenciaga white puffer jacket in the Vatican city.

A new photo of Pope Francis today weared a big white puffer jacket in the Vatican City,” his tweet reads. 

A keyword search on Google turned up an article by BuzzFeed News titled, “We Spoke To The Guy Who Created The Viral AI Image Of The Pope That Fooled The World.”

The report states that Pablo Xavier, a 31-year-old construction worker from the Chicago area, wanted to make something funny and thought of doing the Pope in a ‘Balenciaga puffy coat, Moncler, walking the streets of Rome, Paris’ using Midjourney, an Artificial Intelligence art tool. 

The images were created on 24 March 2023. It went viral after he posted it on a Facebook group called AI Art Universe and then on Reddit. 

Xavier said it was “scary” that people believed the images were real without questioning it.

A spokesman for the Vatican photographic service, Edmondo Lilli, told AFP Fact Check a signatory of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) that the image going viral on social media is fake. 

Soch Fact Check could not find any match to the viral photo through reverse image search tools. We, however, found other variations of AI-generated images of Pope Francis on the artificial intelligence program Midjourney.


The photo posted by Twitter user @M_Jeffnaldo was viewed by 19,900 people. It also received 13 retweets, 170 likes and one bookmark. 

Conclusion: Pope Francis’ photo in a white puffer jacket has been wrongly shared as real. The photo was generated by the artificial intelligence program, Midjourney. 

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