New York: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with over 43.5 million likes on his personal Page and 13.7 million likes on his official Page on Facebook, is the most popular world leader on the social network as more world leaders are now paying to promote their posts, a new report said on Thursday.
US President Donald Trump is at the second place with more than 23 million likes on his personal Facebook Page and Jordan's Queen Rania is third with 16.9 million likes, said the "2019 World Leaders on Facebook" report -- part of the annual "Twiplomacy" study -- prepared by the leading global communications agency BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe).
Brazil's new President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office on January 1, is the most engaged world leader on Facebook. His Facebook page has registered more than 145 million interactions, almost twice as many as Trump who has 84 million total interactions.
To counter the recent changes in Facebook algorithms, several world leaders are now promoting their posts and Pages with Facebook ads. In early March 2019, 50 pages had been running ads according to Facebook's Ads Library.
"Our latest 'Twiplomacy' study confirms that even among political figures who easily attract the attention of the public in social media, a paid strategy is still essential to secure reach and make a serious impact," said Chad Latz, Chief Innovation Officer, BCW.
"Additionally, we see how some leaders are very successful by being personal and approachable on the platform using all the tools at their disposal, from Facebook Live to Facebook Stories, to engage their audiences," Latz added.
Trump's Facebook Page has posted more than 50,000 ads since its inception, while UK Prime Minister Theresa May's Page posted 74 paid ads in December 2018 to promote her 'Brexit' plan.
The study, using aggregate data from Facebook's "CrowdTangle" tool, analysed the activity of 962 Facebook pages of heads of state and government and foreign ministers.
As of March 1, the Facebook Pages have a combined total of 345 million likes and published 449,739 posts in the past 12 months which have garnered a total of 767 million interactions (comments, likes and shares), said the study.
"Followers of world leaders' Facebook pages grew by 10 per cent (year on year) but the interactions on their Pages have dropped significantly. While world leaders registered 1.1 billion interactions in 2016, that number has decreased by 32.3 per cent compared to their interactions in 2018," the findings revealed.
In early February, German Chancellor Angela Merkel deleted her personal Facebook Page, which had 2.5 million fans, after stepping down as leader of the Christian Democratic Union.