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Modi is the most followed political leader on Instagram, even as he follows no one

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
The most influential instagrammer.
  • Niharika Sharma
By Niharika Sharma

Aviation and social media reporter

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has beaten yet another social media record.

With over 30 million followers, the 64-year-old has become the world’s most followed political leader on photosharing app Instagram, way ahead of former US president Barack Obama (24.8 million) and the current US president Donald Trump (14.9 million).

Modi reached the milestone, despite the fact that he follows nobody on Instagram.

“This is yet another testament to his popularity,” JP Nadda, working president of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tweeted on Oct. 13.

The tech-savvy Modi commands massive popularity across social media platforms. For instance, in April, he was the most-liked political leader on Facebook with over 43.5 million “likes.” Trump was his closest competitor with just over 23.8 million likes.

Also, as of September, Modi was the third most followed leader after Obama and Trump on Twitter. Currently, Modi has a follower count of 50.7 million, while Trump has 65.7 million followers on the micro-blogging site.

The popularity aside, Modi’s social media strategy has often drawn flak from critics. From following infamous trolls on Twitter to having a number of fake followers, Modi has been widely criticised for the way he engages on social networks.

Last year, a study by a global digital firm Twiplomacy found that the Indian prime minister has the highest number of fake followers on Twitter among all world leaders. The study claimed that out of the total number of followers he had at that time, around 60% were fake.

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