With over 42 million followers on his personal Twitter account, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is behind US President Donald Trump (52 million) and Pope Francis (47 million) but in terms of influence on the microblogging site, Modi is the second most important world leader, a global study said on Tuesday.
With over 11 million followers, India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is not only the most followed female world leader but also the most followed foreign minister in the world, according to the 2018 "Twiplomacy" study by BCW -- a global communications agency.
The study analysed the activity of 951 Twitter accounts of heads of state and government and foreign ministers for a year -- from May 2017 to May 2018 -- using aggregate data from Crowdtangle.com, a content discovery and social monitoring platform.
While Modi currently has 43.4 million followers on Twitter, Trump has 53.4 million while Swaraj has 11.8 million followers.
Trump became the most followed world leader in October 2017 when he passed Pope Francis (@Pontifex) who is the second most followed world leader with more than 47 million followers on his nine language accounts.
Trump's followers on his @realDonaldTrump account has more than doubled since taking office on January 20, 2017.
Tweets from the US President generated 264 million interactions (likes and retweets) over the past 12 months, more than five times as many as Modi, with 52 million interactions, and 12 times as many as Pope Francis's tweets which generated 22 million interactions, the study showed.
As of May 18, 2018, the heads of state and government and foreign ministers of 187 countries had a presence on Twitter, representing 97 per cent of all 193 UN member states, the findings showed.
The governments of only six countries, namely Laos, Mauritania, Nicaragua, North Korea, Swaziland and Turkmenistan do not have an official presence on the platform, the study said.
Even the Chinese government's State Council Information Office maintains a presence on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Facebook is the second-most popular network among government leaders, and it is where they have the biggest audience, according to the study.
Facebook-owned Instagram has become the third-most popular social network for governments, with 81 per cent of all UN member states having set up an account and many of them are sharing daily Instagram stories.