East Africa

Kenyatta named most popular Africa leader on social media


The President’s two million likes on Facebook have earned him recognition as the most popular Sub-Saharan Africa leader on social media.

The 2016 ‘World Leaders on Facebook study’ published by Burson-Marsteller placed Uhuru Kenyatta ahead of Ghana President John Dramani and Ethiopia foreign minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who had more than 600,000 likes.

The study whose data was collected in January ranked US President Barack Obama the most popular world leader with 46 million likes on his ‘Barack Obama campaign page’ on Facebook.

He was followed closely by Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi with more than 31 million fans and 10.1 million others on his institutional ‘PMO India page’.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan, Indonesia’s Joko Widodo and Egyptian President Abde Fattah el Sisi completed the top five list of the most popular world leaders with 5 million Facebook likes each.

Over the past eight years, Facebook has become the platform of choice for world leaders and governments to engage with voters and constituents.

The study found that almost 90 per cent of all governments use Facebook, and that 87 heads of state, 82 heads of government and 51 foreign ministers have personal pages.

On January 4, 2016, all world leaders on the platform had a total of 230,489,257 ‘likes’ and had published 302,456 posts, the study found.

“Governments are becoming savvier and more professional in the use of social media. It seems that quality trumps quantity in terms of what they post,” said Jeremy Galbraith, CEO of Burson-Marsteller Europe.

Galbraith said it was “very refreshing” to see successful politicians on Facebook “behave just like any other Facebook user, sharing pictures of their home life, holidays and their children”.

The organisations Worldwide chairman, Donald Baer, said the study provides valuable insights about the communications practices of political leaders around the world.

“There is a great deal corporations, 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,” he said.

The study whose findings were released in New York on Monday noted that 24 countries have not established a presence on Facebook.

“Among them is China, where the social network is banned and Switzerland, where the former president briefly set up a personal page in 2013 before deactivating it four months later,” read the report.

The Star Kenya 

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