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50 mn and counting: A peek into how PM Modi became one of the most-followed world leaders on social media

PM Modi had the second-largest following on social media among world leaders.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Sep 10, 2019, 11.18 AM IST
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi retained his position as the third most-followed person on Twitter.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi touched the milestone of 50 million followers on Twitter, retaining his position as the third most-followed person on the microblogging platform. The only other people above him on the pecking order are US President Donald Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama who have 64 million and 108 million followers respectively. PM Modi, who actively uses Twitter to voice his views on a wide array of topics, saw his following on Twitter increase nearly tenfold since relocating to 7, Race Course Road (now 7, Lok Kalyan Marg) – the Prime Minister’s official residence.



At the time of securing a landslide victory in the 2014 general elections, Modi had roughly 5.3 million followers. Modi began using Twitter in 2019. He is also on social networking apps like Facebook and Instagram, where has 44.8 million and 25 million followers respectively. Modi is the world’s most-followed world leader on Instagram. His most-liked post on the photo-sharing platform is one in which he seen cradling a baby inside Parliament.

"A very special friend came to meet me in Parliament today," PM Modi wrote. The post has garnered over 3.7 million ‘likes’. Other photos from his Instagram feed that drew a lot of attention include that of him at the wedding of Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma, and that taken on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos last year.

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A recent report by digital marketing platform SEMrush found that Modi had the second-largest following on social media among world leaders.




A recent report by digital marketing platform SEMrush found that Modi had the second-largest following on social media among world leaders. The study took into account the aggregate followers across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Modi’s combined follower count was 110.9 million in May 2019, second only to Barack Obama, whose posts appear on the feeds of 182.7 million people.

"With his approximately 110 million followers worldwide, Narendra Modi has overtaken the present US President Donald Trump who has 96 million followers globally. However, Trump still enjoys the second most followed politician position globally on Twitter (with 59.8 million followers)," the report said.

Modi’s follower count has grown exponentially since he became Prime Minister. The general pattern of follower growth is in keeping with Modi’s penchant for leveraging the power of social media to make big-ticket announcements. His follower count rose by nearly 300 per cent from 10.14 million to 40.43 million between February 2016 and February 2018 – a period punctuated by policy decisions like demonetization and the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST).

However, follower growth slowed slightly from its earlier pace since 2018, with Twitter began sanitizing its platform by removing inactive and locked accounts. Modi lost nearly 300,000 followers in July 2018, as opposed to other Indian politicians like Rahul Gandhi and Amit Shah, who lost 17,503 and 33,363 followers respectively. Other world leaders also saw their online base shrink. US President Donald Trump lost nearly 100,000 followers in one day, a third of the inauthentic Modi followers purged by the microblogging platform. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey had 200,000 fewer followers after the clean-up exercise was completed.

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