Sunday 24, January 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is the most popular leader on Facebook in the Gulf Cooperation Council, with 3.1 million “likes” on the platform, according to a new study by Burson-Marsteller, a leading global public relations and communications firm.

HH Sheikh Mohammed, who joined the social networking site in 2009, also ranks third in the list of the most followed leaders on Facebook from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). HH Sheikh Mohammed, who has more than 11.4 million followers across a number of social networks including twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google +, is a pioneer in using social media platforms in the Arab world.

The study, World Leaders on Facebook, is Burson-Marsteller’s latest research into how world leaders, governments and international organisations communicate via social media. Over the past eight years, Facebook has emerged as the platform of choice for world leaders and governments to engage with their constituents. According to the study, 169 of the 193 UN member states maintain an official Facebook page.

“Home to a young, increasingly connected and mobile population, the MENA region is progressing into a dynamic and vibrant area. The UAE, in particular, is known for its open business environment, cosmopolitan nature and impressive adoption of smart devices, making it a model country of what is best about the region,” said Sunil John, Founder and CEO of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller. “With the UAE government’s focus on the development of smart services, the leadership remains on the pulse of public consciousness- a value that is captured by the engaging, transparent and informative social media presence of HH Sheikh Mohammed.

Across the MENA region, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has the most number of Facebook likes with six million, closely followed by Her Royal Highness Queen Rania of Jordan, an early adopter of social media with 5.5 million “likes”.

Worldwide, U.S. President Barack Obama is the most popular world leader on Facebook with 46 million “likes” on his Barack Obama campaign page. President Obama is closely followed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with more than 31 million fans on his personal Narendra Modi page and 10.1 million fans on his institutional PMO India page, which is in third position. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi complete the top five list of the most popular world leaders on Facebook.

The study also found that 87 heads of state, 82 heads of government and 51 foreign ministers maintain personal pages on the platform. Additionally, as of 4 January 2016, the combined accumulated total of ‘likes’ from world leaders reached 230,489,257 and had published a total of 302,456 posts.

“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, Burson-Marsteller. “Corporations, NGOs and other sectors can learn a great deal from the way governments and their leaders use Facebook. By showing their human side, they are creating a closer relationship with their citizens.”