More than a decade after some college kid launched a social network in his dorm room, Facebook has become a critical communications platform for world governments.
According to a new report released today by global PR firm Burson-Marsteller, 87 percent of the 193 United Nations member countries have some kind of official presence on Facebook. BM analyzed 512 official Facebook pages for 169 governments, pages which together have amassed a total of 230.5 million ‘likes’.
“Over the past eight years, Facebook has become the channel of choice for community engagement with world leaders,” the study says. “Since then, a Facebook presence has become part and parcel of any social media political campaign and one of the best ways to engage with potential voters and citizens.”
President Barack Obama was one of the first world leaders to join Facebook, when his campaign launched an official page back in 2007.
Among world leaders, it’s not surprisingly, then, that Obama was associated with the three most popular posts. No. 1 was a Happy Easter message from the Obama family that got 2.9 million ‘likes’, comments, and shares, while No. 3 was a picture of Obama and his wife, Michelle, hugging on their anniversary.
In the No. 2 spot is a post from India’s Narendra Modi welcoming Barack Obama to his country. That visit was a meeting of social media giants: While Obama has the most ‘likes’ of any world leader, with 46.4 million, Modi is at number two, with 31.7 million.
On their Facebook pages, world governments do everything from highlighting personal messages to conducting town hall-style discussions to releasing official pronouncements.