Prime Minister Hun Sen’s time spent posting selfies and broadcasting speeches live on Facebook appears to be paying off, according to a new study that ranks world leaders’ Facebook pages by level of engagement.
With nearly 7 million followers on his official Facebook page, Mr. Hun Sen, who some claim has purchased much of his popularity from “click farms” abroad, has the 8th most Facebook followers among some 590 pages of heads of state and other world leaders analyzed last month by Burson-Marsteller, a global communications and public relations firm.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the most popular world leader on Facebook with nearly 40 million devotees.
Mr. Hun Sen’s page ranked second for page interactions—with 58 million likes, comments and shares last year—well behind Mr. Modi, who garnered nearly 170 million interactions over the same period.
About half of Mr. Hun Sen’s Facebook followers are in Cambodia, while nearly 12 percent are from India and just under 10 percent from the Philippines, according to web analytics site Socialbakers.
The premier’s page regularly features photographs and live video footage of his family, trips, holidays, and public ceremonies and speeches, as well as football matches and live broadcasts of “The Voice Cambodia.” His video posts receive the most interactions, the report says.
Mr. Hun Sen’s posts were shared more than 6 million times last year.
Facebook was an effective way for the nation’s leader “to get the message out in a more personalized, engaging way,” Bun Tharum, a tech blogger and communications specialist, said on Tuesday in an email.
“It allows Cambodians to feel closer to the…leader not by watching him and his family members, including his grandchildren, not on TV (one way), but by scrolling on our mobile phone (a personal device we live and breathe with every minute),” he added.
Noan Sereiboth, a member of Politikoffee, a group which organizes weekly forums on politics, said the prime minister was also using his Facebook page to distract from potentially troubling current events.
“He tries to show there is no political tension and deadlock by entertaining people via his Facebook page,” he said.
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