A new statistical analysis indicates that the more Facebook fans an African politician has, the more likely they are to be forced from power. Who knew, right?
Ethan Zuckerman, a researcher at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, discovered that having more followers on Facebook was directly proportional to regime instability:Of course, it never hurts to be skeptical. #obviousstatementsHere are the top leaders, in terms of followers, as of December 2010:
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
In that top ten, 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.) In other words, there doesn’t seem to be a strong correlation between Facebook friends and staying power of a regime.