Report: Pope Francis Most Influential Leader on Twitter

Pope Francis
AP Photo/Saurabh Das

A new study claims that Pope Francis is the most influential person on Twitter for the third year in a row, and his influence is growing steadily. Although U.S. President Barack Obama has more followers than any other world leader, Pope Francis is the most retweeted leader, which counts more for “influence,” according to the criteria used by the study.

PR firm Burson-Marsteller released its annual Twiplomacy report of Twitter accounts on Tuesday. The study analyzed the Twitter feeds of 669 leaders and heads of state from 166 different countries and declared Pope Francis to be the most influential of the bunch. Each of his tweets is retweeted an average of 9,929 times, or eight times more than the next runner-up: President Obama.

“Pope Francis @Pontifex is by far the most influential tweep with 9,929 retweets for every tweet he sends on his Spanish account and 7,527 retweets on average on his English account,” the Twiplomacy study announced.

Pope Francis has 20 million followers, whereas President Obama has 57 million followers, but while each of the Pope’s tweets are re-sent almost 10,000 times on average, the President’s are retweeted only 1,210 times each.

The Pope’s account is different from that of other world leaders for other reasons, as well; it doesn’t conduct any promotional activity and follows no one, and the Pope’s nine Twitter accounts send out his messages in nine different languages, including Arabic and Latin.

President Obama’s following of nearly 57 million people rose in 2015 from 44 million the year before, and the Pope’s following increased from 14 to 19.5 million during the same period.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had nearly 11 million followers, making him the third most followed tweep after Obama and the Pope. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was next with more than 6 million, and the White House account had almost 6 million followers, as well.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.


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