President Trump hit a Twitter milestone earlier this month when he notched another 400,000 followers and overtook Jennifer Lopez, planting himself in the list of the top 20 most followed accounts on the social media platform — the president currently has 44.8 million followers on the site.
The list of most-followed Twitter accounts is probably exactly what you’d expect: there are a lot of musicians and a handful of brands. Trump and Obama are the only politicians on the list, but the current commander-in-chief has a long way to go if he wants to earn the following that his predecessor reaches every time he tweets — Obama holds the No. 3 spot with just under 98 million followers, per a list from Crowdfire. The top 20 most followed accounts all belong to Americans with the exception of Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, who sits at the No. 9 spot.
In early December, Twitter revealed their “most liked and retweeted” tweets of 2017 and the president was noticeably absent from that list. The most popular tweet of the year came from the thumbs of a Nevada high schooler who was promised a year of free Wendy’s chicken nuggets if he got 18 million retweets. Unfortunately, the hungry teen only racked up a measly 3.6 million, but Wendy’s still gave him his nuggets. A heartwarming photo of President Obama with children was the No. 2 most retweeted tweet of the year. In fact, Obama had a better year than pretty much anybody else on the micro-blogging platform, firing off three of the top 10 most retweeted messages.
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…" pic.twitter.com/InZ58zkoAm
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 13, 2017
Trump’s arch-enemy, CNN, currently handles the 16th most followed account on the site, but the president has a good chance at passing them as he’s been rapidly earning followers since he stepped into the Oval Office, and since the president’s Twitter account has been a topic of a whole lot of attention. In November, an outgoing employee at Twitter managed to delete the handle @realdonaldtrump for about eleven minutes before it was restored. Trump rarely tweets from the @POTUS handle, and the messages on that account seem to come from an official in the White House.
Unfortunately for him, the 45 million followers that Trump commands might not be all that they seem. According to Twitter Audit, a website that tracks users, just under half of Trump’s followers are actually fake accounts.
Pretty much everybody is talking about Trump’s Twitter account, and they have been for a long time. It’s hard to explain what about the site Trump is so good at, but basically, he just gets it. In 2015, The New York Times published a sort of profile on his account, declaring, “Mr. Trump has mastered Twitter in a way no candidate for president ever has, unleashing and redefining its power as a tool of political promotion, distraction, score-settling and attack.” Slate put it even more bluntly, running the headline, “Donald Trump is the best at Twitter, here’s why.”
While he’s got a long way to go if he ever hopes to catch up with Obama or have a chance at the No. 1 spot (currently held by Katy Perry), the president definitely has one victory that will make him grin — his 44.8 million followers are more than double Hillary Clinton’s numbers.