The social media prowess of Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, isn’t restricted to his home country. He has more Facebook fans in the United States than most current members of Congress, governors and other political candidates.
Mr. Modi’s American Facebook base of 170,529 as of Wednesday is larger than all but 21 American elected officials and current candidates, according to Socialbakers, a site that tracks social media accounts. He even has more American Facebook fans than Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey and potential presidential candidate, or Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader from Nevada.
Some of this is because Mr. Modi waged a high-profile election campaign earlier this year. He used social media effectively in that campaign and employed it as an important part of his communication strategy once in office. His popularity among people of Indian descent in the United States was vividly displayed by the reception he got at a sold-out Madison Square Garden event on Sunday.
Several American politicians benefited from Mr. Modi’s presence in the United States. Members of Congress who attended the Madison Square Garden event received sizable boosts on Twitter after posting pictures of themselves with the Indian leader. Six of the eight biggest gains in Twitter followers among lawmakers that day were for people at the event, including Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat of Hawaii and the House’s first Hindu, who got at least 767 new followers in the day after posting a picture of herself with Mr. Modi.
Most of Mr. Modi’s social media followers come from India, which has the second largest number of Facebook users. He also has at least 10,000 Facebook fans from 21 countries, including Egypt, the Philippines and Pakistan, where his 94,553 Facebook fans outnumber the Americans who follow Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina, on the site. There are about 3.3 million people in the United States who claim Indian ancestry, according to the Census Bureau.
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There are American politicians who have a bigger social media base. Barack Obama, who has more Facebook fans outside the United States (37.8 million) than inside it (15.1 million), tops the list. It also includes Rick Perry, the Republican governor of Texas, and the two candidates seeking to replace him: the Democrat Wendy Davis and the Republican Greg Abbott. Jan Brewer, the Republican governor of Arizona, who is not eligible to run for re-election this year, also outpaces Mr. Modi.