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Obama most liked leader on Facebook; Aquino is No. 10

By: - Business Features Editor / @tinaarceodumlao
/ 01:34 AM January 20, 2016
Barack Obama

President Barack Obama speaks in Washington Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Washington. AP Photo

DESPITE the bashing he had been getting lately for his veto of the proposed P2,000 pension increase among Social Security System retirees, President Aquino emerged the 10th most “liked” country leader in 2015, with 4.244 million “likes” on his official Facebook account.

According to the World Leaders on Facebook study by leading communications and public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, US President Barack Obama ranked as the most popular world leader with more than 46.414 million likes on his “campaign page,” which was not managed by the White House administration or Obama himself.

The official White House account, on the other hand, was the eighth most liked Facebook page with 5.44 million likes, according to the study by Burson-Marsteller, which operates in 110 countries..

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Obama was closely followed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with 31.745 million likes on his personal page, plus another 10.109 million on the official page of the Prime Minister of India.

Third was Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey with 7.991 million. Indonesian President Joko Widodo emerged the highest ranking among Southeast Asian leaders, with 6.014 million likes on his Facebook page.

‘Channel of choice’

Also on the top 10 were Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (5.986 million likes), Queen Rania of Jordan (5.565 million) and Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto with 4.504 million.

Burson-Marsteller said in a statement that over the past eight years, the popular Facebook social media platform had become the “channel of choice” for community engagement with world leaders.

“Many politicians discover social media channels during election campaigns, such as the Barack Obama page, which was set up in late 2007 as an electoral tool for the former senator of Illinois. Since then, a Facebook presence (had) become part and parcel of any social media political campaign and one of the best ways to engage with potential voters and citizens,” the report said.

Burson-Marsteller added that according to Facebook’s latest figures, 1.5 billion people had registered an account on the platform, of which 1 billion remained active on the social network every day.

In 2015, the number of users on Facebook topped even the population of China, the most populous country on earth.

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512 Facebook pages

“Given this global audience, it comes as no surprise that governments and leaders of 87 percent of the 193 United Nations member countries now have a presence on the social network,” Burson-Marsteller said.

The 512 Facebook pages analyzed in the study represented 169 governments and had a combined total of 230.489 million likes.

The Burson-Marsteller study added that about 9 of 10 governments had an official Facebook presence and that 87 heads of state, 82 heads of government and 51 foreign ministers kept personal pages on the platform.

Based on data collected in January 2016, the World Leaders on Facebook study—the first installment of the 2016 edition of Burson-Marsteller’s annual Twiplomacy study—found that 169 of 193 UN member states maintained an official Facebook page.

The study also found that official government use of Facebook varies among countries.

“While some pages merely broadcast the daily activity of their leaders, others engage with their citizens, replying to the most salient comments and even allowing a free flow of visitor posts on their respective pages,” the report said.

Private lives

“Much like any other Facebook user, world leaders share their private lives on the platform: Celebrating birthdays, sharing pictures of their children, celebrating their latest offspring or grieving the passing of their parents. And these personal posts are generally the most popular,” the report added.

“This first study about governments’ use of Facebook provides valuable insights about the communications practices of political leaders around the world,” said Donald A. Baer, Worldwide chair and CEO of Burson-Marsteller. “There is a great deal (that) 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.”

Added Jeremy Galbraith, CEO of Burson-Marsteller Europe, Middle East and Africa, and global chief strategy officer: “This study illustrates that governments are becoming savvier and more professional in the use of social media. An encouraging finding from this study is that, for governments, it seems that quality trumps quantity in terms of what they post.

“It is also very refreshing to see that successful politicians on Facebook behave just like any other Facebook user, sharing pictures of their home life, holidays and their children,” Galbraith said in a statement.

Most engaged leader

The study said Modi had the most interactive fans, with more than 200 million interactions on his Facebook “community” in 2015 (the total number of post likes, comments and shares), more than five times as many as Obama’s. However, the White House’s posts, while attracting far fewer likes than Modi, were nevertheless shared more frequently.

Argentina’s new President, Mauricio Macri, was the most engaged world leader and had become the undisputed “Facebook president.” with a double-digit engagement rate relative to the number of page likes of almost 12 percent, the study said.

The Facebook page of the President of the Dominican Republic, meanwhile, was the most prolific, with an average of more than 27 posts per day in 2015.

Almost as prolific were those of the governments of Botswana and the Philippines, each with an average of more than 20 posts per day. By contrast, the official page of the President of the United States only published intermittently, but gathered more than 77,000 interactions per post.

At the other end were the governments of 24 countries that had yet to establish their presence on Facebook, including 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.

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TAGS: Barack Obama, Facebook, News, politics, President Aquino
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