Diana Marszalek 11 Jul 2018 // 7:09AM GMT
GENEVA — Despite the blowback, President Trump is killing it on Twitter, garnering more followers than any other world leader — including the Pope.
According to BCW’s latest Twiplomacy Study, Trump’s @realDonaldTrump account has garnered 52 million followers (it was actually up by a million at publication), more than double the number it had when he assumed the presidency in January 2017. Last October, Trump knocked Pope Francis out of the top spot; The popular pontiff, whose Twitter handle is @Pontifex, has 47 million followers across accounts in nine different languages.
Indian Prime Minister @NarendraModi takes the third and fourth spots, with 42 million followers on his personal account and 26 million followers on his institutional account, @PMOIndia. The official Twitter account of the US President, @POTUS, ranks fifth and @WhiteHouse ranks sixth, with 23 and 17 million followers, respectively.
The study also shows widespread adoption of the platform, with 97% of governments around the world communicating on Twitter. That number is based on research showing that, as of May, the heads of state and government and foreign ministers of 187 countries had a Twitter presence, which is equal to 97% of all 193 UN member states. The governments of only six countries — Laos, Mauritania, Nicaragua, North Korea, Swaziland and Turkmenistan — do not have an official presence on the platform.
Yet Trump is among a very small group of world leaders who are personally active on their own Twitter accounts and his tweets have generated 264 million interactions (likes & retweets) over the past 12 months, more than five times as many as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with 52 million interactions, and 12 times as many as Pope Francis, with 22 million interactions. The tweets from @realDonaldTrump garner on average more than 20,000 retweets.
Facebook is the second-most popular network among government leaders, and it is where they have the biggest audience. Instagram has become the third-most popular social network for governments, with 81% of all UN member states having set up an account and many of them are sharing daily Instagram stories.
The BCW Twiplomacy study is based on the activity of 951 Twitter accounts of heads of state and government and foreign ministers from May 19, 2017 to May 18, 2018 using aggregate data from Crowdtangle.com.