African Leaders, Stay Off Facebook: Number of Fans Correlated With Regime Instability

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In a wacky little study, Ethan Zuckerman of Harvard University’s Beckman Center for Internet and Society found having more followers on Facebook was directly proportional to regime instability for leaders on the African continent.

In the list of top ten leaders by number of followers Zuckerman says: “we’ve got two leaders who’ve been forced out of power (Ben Ali, Mubarak), one struggling to retain power after losing an election (Gbagbo), one facing protests like the ones that toppled his neighbor (Bouteflika) and one in danger of arrest from opponents within his coalition government (Tsvangirai.)”

(More on TIME.com: See pictures of an African leader in trouble, Muammar Gaddafi)

Below is the list as of December 2010, when research was conducted:

341,759: Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria
232,424: Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia
61,510: Mwai Kibaki, Kenya
59,744: King Mohamed VI, Morocco
57,072: Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe (Prime Minister to Robert Mugabe)
21,306: Jakaya Kikwete, Tanzania
15,723: Hosni Mubarak, Egypt
15,377: Laurent Gbagbo, Ivory Coast
14,714: Jacob Zuma, South Africa
12,658: Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria

We aren’t saying anything about cause and effect, cause Africa’s a pretty unstable place right now, but Fast Company reports 50% of politicians on Online Africa’s list have been thrown out of office or dealt with career-threatening crises in the past four months.

Turns out Facebook “fans” may not necessarily be loyal. Goodluck Jonathan, you could need some luck. (via Fast Company)

(More on TIME.com: See pictures of Libya’s no-fly zone)

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