The three elected heads of state with the most Twitter followers are Donald Trump of the United States, Narendra Modi of India, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey. All of these countries are currently dealing with a tide of populist, heavily nationalist sentiment.

These leaders (from the Vatican,* Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, and Mexico) use Twitter to push strategic messaging that runs parallel to their public personas. See ‘Leader Profiles’ in the menu above for specifics about each.

To read the accounts of President Widodo of Indonesia, His Royal Highness Sheikh Mohammed of the United Arab Emirates or President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico in English, please click either the follower count number or their Twitter handle to be redirected to their Twitter pages, and enable Google Translate there. Translations of their tweets have been provided in other sections of this site.

15,300,000

Followers

The Freedom Scores of the countries governed by Twitter-saavy leaders vary widely. In 2017, President Trudeau’s Canada has a score of 99 out of 100, President Santos’ Colombia is 64, and Prime Minister Razak’s Malaysia is 44. The score for Saudi Arabia under King Salman is 10.

Many of the leaders discussed on this site have famous (sometimes infamous) relationships with Twitter. President Maduro of Venezuela and President Putin of Russia have both tried to exercise control over Twitter in the past, with differing results. Macron used Twitter successfully in his campaign and was the victim of the same Twitter bots used in the 2016 US election, which was another high profile connection between President Putin and Twitter.

3,280,000

Followers

*Pope Francis has more followers than President Erdoğan and is a head of state (and globally, a religion), but he only wields direct political power over 796 people, which is why he is not included in the top three accounts.