Political News

Twitter diplomacy? Meet the world leaders with largest followers

Posted June 26

They are the leaders of the world's biggest democracies.

They draw enormous, boisterous crowds at their rallies and speeches.

They both rode to power on populist waves. And they will have a lot to talk about when they meet for the first time.

President Donald Trump welcomes Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House Monday.

Trade, visas, climate, security, are just a few topics on the agenda. Trump and Modi may not see eye to eye on some issues. But they may find they have much in common if they want to venture into some friendlier territory -- like the world of social media.

They are, after all, the world leaders with the largest Twitter followings. Trump has 32.8 million followers.

Modi has 31 million.

And both Trump, age 71, and Modi, age 66, like to broadcast their plans, clarify their visions and take issue with critics on the Internet platform.

If you compare those follower totals to other world leaders, well. there's no comparison.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has 3.3 million followers. French President Emmanuel Macron has 1.5 million.

And British Prime Minister Theresa May? A grand total of 364,000 followers.

Celebrities, billionaires and media giants lead the pack of Twitter accounts with the most followers.

Pop icon Katy Perry has more than 100 million followers, followed by Justin Bieber with 97 million, according to Twitter.

Former US President Barack Obama ranks third on that list, the only politician in the top 30. (With a whopping 91 million followers, he blows both Trump and Modi away).

When Modi met Obama, the Indian media often trumpeted the chemistry between the two leaders, branding it as a "bromance."

The question is, can Modi and Trump build personal rapport, over Twitter? You could call it "Twitter diplomacy."

One administration official thinks so, and couldn't resist the temptation to brag: "I think President Trump is slightly ahead of Modi (in the number of Twitter followers), but I think this shows the kind of leaders they are."

One important distinction: Modi follows Trump on Twitter but Trump doesn't follow him back. The 45 people that Trump follows are mostly family, aides and some media personalities.

Modi, for his part, follows over 1,700 people that include world leaders like Macron, May, and Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

But the two men are already communicating on Twitter, sort of.

Using his official @POTUS account, President Trump tweeted that he's looking forward to discussing important strategic issues with a "true friend."

The Indian Prime Minister tweeted out a link to his Wall Street Journal editorial.

Will it be a lasting relationship? Keep checking your Twitter feed.

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