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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange are the frontrunners of TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year Reader’s Poll, coming at 11 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.
Modi’s popularity is on the rise, as he is engaged in a battle against corruption in the financial sector; he recently ratified the Paris Climate Agreement.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin was trailing US President-elect Donald Trump at 7 and 8 per cent, respectively.
Other big names on the list include England’s Nigel Farage, outgoing US President Barack Obama, as well as Chinese President Xi Jinping.
It is the age of social media, and world leaders all know the importance of racking up the follows and likes on their public profiles online.
BRICS leaders are not only no strangers to these online platforms, but some of the most popular politicians on them.
Modi has over 37 million likes on Facebook and 24 million followers on Twitter. The Indian Prime Minister’s Office, a separate Facebook page, has over 12 million likes – making Modi the second most popular politician on the internet second only to Obama.
Obama has a staggering 78 million followers on Twitter, and an additional 11 million followers on the President of the United States (POTUS) account.
The Russian Kremlin falls far behind, with only 3 million followers on Twitter.
Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev is slightly more popular, with 5 million Twitters followers and 1 million likes on Facebook.
Putin, who was last year voted the most popular leader in the world, has only 715,000 likes on Facebook and 493,000 Twitter followers – in English.
The Chinese are markedly absent from mainstream social media, but President Xi’s first message out on Weibo, a platform similar to Twitter, wishing people a happy new year in 2015 went viral.
South African President Jacob Zuma has 415,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 100,000 likes on Facebook, trailing behind all other BRICS leaders including Brazilian President Michel Temer who has 685,000 Twitter followers and 520,000 likes on Facebook.
But Temer pales in comparison to his predecessor Dilma Rousseff who maintains nearly five million Twitter followers and just under 3.2 million likes on Facebook.
Hot and Heavy Modi
PM Modi is the most frequent social media user among BRICS leaders, expressing himself on Twitter several times a day – the latest is his dedication to the late revolutionary Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
At press time, Fidel Castro was the leading worldwide Twitter trend.
Temer gives Modi a run for his money as the Brazilian president also Tweets several times a day.
Putin hasn’t Tweeted on his English account in two weeks, but his Kremlin President of Russia account did put out this gem:
— President of Russia (@KremlinRussia_E) November 25, 2016
Zuma is dead last; the last time he Tweeted was more than three years ago.
The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies