Australia’s top politicians have seen a ‘coronavirus bump’ on Facebook, growing their collective following by more than a million since February

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference following a National Cabinet meeting on on May 15, 2020 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Rohan Thomson/Getty Images)
  • The total number of likes on Facebook pages for the prime minister and state and territory leaders have doubled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison has seen the biggest total growth in likes, whereas Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein’s Facebook has increased the most proportionately.
  • During the pandemic, Australian politicians have been using Facebook and other social media to announce new public health measures and share the latest case numbers.
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As the nation battles the coronavirus, Australia’s politicians are using social media to speak directly to their constituents. And Australians, it seems, are listening.

During the pandemic, politicians have used Facebook to share details of changing restrictions, clarify rules, and to provide daily updates of case numbers.

Analysis of the Facebook pages belonging to Australia’s prime minister and heads of states and territories using the social media analytics tool CrowdTangle reveals they have seen a big boost in their Facebook following and engagement during the pandemic.

Together, the nine leaders have seen their followings grow to 2.05 million, an increase of more than 1.01 million since Scott Morrison declared COVID-19 would become a global pandemic on February 27.

On average, each member of the group has seen their following grow by three times during their time.

The Prime Minister’s Facebook page has seen the biggest growth in total number of followers, adding more than 312,000 followers and bringing him to more than 553,000 in total.

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein has seen his page’s likes grow more than 14 times – the most out of any of the leaders – surging from less than 2,000 to more than 29,000 today. It’s worth noting that Gutwein only became premier in January this year – which likely accounts for some of his rapid increase.

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews remains the most popular Australian politician on Facebook with nearly 880,000 likes, having added 265,000.

Similarly, Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan has added more than 200,000 followers to bring him to 240,000.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s page likes increased by more than 110,000 to nearly 150,000, having posted more than 1,000 times during the period, more than any other leader.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian doubled her Facebook following from 34,000 to 65,000, while South Australia Premier Steven Marshall reached more than 95,000, up from 50,000.

The ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr and the NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner had the smallest changes in Facebook page numbers, adding just 4,000 and 13,000 respectively.

During this period, these nine politicians have posted more than 4,200 times. Facebook users have reacted, shared or commented on their posts more than 16 million times during the period.

At its peak in April, users interacted with their posts more than 4 million times, compared to just 660,000 times during April 2019.

While engagement has dropped since its peak, it seems that Australians are still keen to hear the latest coronavirus news straight from the source.