President Donald Trump bested Pope Francis and took the top slot this weekend among current world leaders on his favorite method of communication: Twitter.
The @realDonaldTrump personal account crossed 39.7 million followers to overtake the nine different language accounts that the pope uses, making the president the most-followed world leader, according to measurements kept by public relations firm Burson-Marsteller.
Pope Francis, with 39.5 million followers at the time that Burson-Marsteller crunched the numbers, fell to second behind Trump when adding up the papal accounts that send the same messages in Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Franch, Latin, German and Arabic.
Next on the world stage for Twitter followers was India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with 34.9 million followers for his official @narendramodi account, plus an additional 21.3 million followers who track the @PMOIndia prime minister’s office account.
Trump also commanded the fifth- and sixth-largest audiences among world leaders on Twitter — with 20.5 million and 15.6 million followers — on the @potus and @WhiteHouse accounts he inherited in January.
Burson-Marsteller for several years has been tracking Twitter followers of world leaders, along with other social media metrics. It does not account for fake bot followers, which it figures all the world leaders have a “fair share” of, said Matthias Lüfkens, who runs the firm’s digital efforts.
Trump still has fewer followers than his predecessor. Barack Obama’s personal account, @barackobama, had 95.6 million followers as of Wednesday. Singers Katy Perry and Justin Bieber each have more than 100 million.