Narendra Modi and Barack Obama
India's Narendra Modi has been beaten by US President Barack Obama in the race to "most popular politician on Facebook".Getty

President Barack Obama has been named as the most popular politician on Facebook, with more than 46 million likes on his page. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's personal page closely follows the US leader, with more than 31 million likes.

There are nearly 90 heads of state and 82 prime ministers who have personal pages on Facebook, according to research conducted by Burson-Marsteller in January 2016. Obama was the first world leader to set up a Facebook page in 2007, however, his currently popular page is not believed to be managed by the White House administration of the President himself.

When Obama opened his personal presidential Facebook page in November 2015, his first post stated: "This is a place where we can have real conversations about the most important issues facing our country – a place where you can hear directly from me, and share your own thoughts and stories."

Obama's personal page has attracted 1.3 million likes in less than two months and is currently among the 30 most popular world leader Facebook pages. The official White House page also features on the list of top 10 most-liked world leaders on Facebook, with 5.4 million likes putting them in eighth place.

While India's Modi has lagged behind the US leader in numbers, the Prime Minister has been ranked as the world's most effective world leader on Facebook, achieving an average of 186,000 interactions on each post in 2015 on his personal Facebook page. Obama comes in as fourth most effective page, falling behind Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (127,432 average interactions) and Modi's official Prime Minister page.

Speaking at Facebook's headquarters in September 2015 with Mark Zuckerberg, Modi said: "Social media means daily voting, there is no scope for a gap in communication with the government like before. The governments now get an opportunity to correct themselves every five minutes and not every five years like before. A good government is one with many information channels, those that give real-time information."

Other Indian government officials also feature highly on the list of popular world leaders on Facebook. The country's President and Foreign Minister featured among the "most liked Asian leaders" on the social networking site and research conducted by Burson-Marsteller indicates that the Indian presidential administration and the Indian prime minister's office are among the 176 pages that freely allow visitors to post on the page, with suggestions, praise and criticism publicly displayed.

Top 10 most liked world leaders in 2015

  1. US President Barack Obama (46,414,177)
  2. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (31,745,203)
  3. Indian Prime Minister's Office (10,109,886)
  4. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (7,991,898)
  5. Indonesian President Joko Widodo (6,014,302)
  6. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (5,985,651)
  7. Jordan's Queen Rania (5,565,231)
  8. The White House (5,445,072)
  9. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto (4,504,141)
  10. Filipino President Noynoy Aquino (4,244,465)