Zuma the fourth most popular leader on Facebook

President Jacob Zuma. Siyabulela Duda/GCIS

President Jacob Zuma. Siyabulela Duda/GCIS

US President Barack Obama is the most popular world leader on Facebook with 46 million likes.

This was revealed by the first instalment of the 2016 edition of Burson-Marsteller’s annual Twiplomacy study released on Monday. It said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came second with more than 31m fans on his personal Narendra Modi page and 10.1 million fans on his institutional PMO India page, which was in third position. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi completed the top five list of the most popular world leaders with more than 5m likes each.

Worlwide chairperson and CEO of Burson-Masteller, Donald Baer, said this first study on governments’ use of Facebook provided valuable insights into the communications practices of political leaders around the world.

“There is a great deal of corporations and NGOs, and other sectors can learn from the ways governments and their leaders use Facebook. By showing their human side, they are creating a closer relationship with their citizens,” said Baer.

Over the past eight years, Facebook has become the platform of choice for world leaders and governments to engage with their voters and constituents. On 4 January 2016, all of the world leaders combined had accumulated a total of 230,489,257 ‘likes’ and had published a total of 302,456 posts, said Baer.

Argentina’s new president, Mauricio Macri, is the most engaged world leader and has become the undisputed ‘Facebook president’ with a double digit engagement rate relative to the number of page likes of almost 12%.

The Facebook page of the presidency of the Dominican Republic is the most prolific page, with an average of more than 27 posts per day in 2015. Almost as prolific are the governments of Botswana and the Philippines, each with an average of more than 20 posts per day. By contrast, the official POTUS page only publishes intermittently, but gathers more than 77,000 interactions per post.

Globally, the South African presidency was the fourth most visited institution by Facebook users last year, said the study.

It found that 169 of the 193 United Nations (UN) member states maintained an official Facebook page.

Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta was the most popular leader in Sub-Saharan Africa with 2 million likes ahead of Ghanian President John Dramani Mahama and Ethiopia’s foreign minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who each had more than 600,000 likes.



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