When Joe Biden won the presidential election last week, he joined a rarified group. Sure, he'll be one of just 46 men to have ever served as president — but he's also one of the only politicians ever to draw more attention on Twitter than President Trump.
During the first week of November, Biden's tweets received more likes and retweets on average than President Trump's, even as Trump's Twitter feed swelled with a relentless stream of baseless voter fraud claims. That's according to new data from the social media insights company Conviva. According to its data, Biden has only bested Trump at Twitter engagement once before in 2020 — narrowly, in September. This time, Biden pulled in an average of 300,000 engagements per tweet in a single week, roughly double that of an average month for Trump.
It's unclear what role Twitter's decision to hide Trump's tweets behind misinformation labels played in those numbers. But it is clear that Biden's social media audience has expanded exponentially in November. While Biden had amassed just 7.67 million Twitter followers between January and October, he got another 4.76 million followers in the first eight days of November alone. Between Nov. 3 and 8, he gained 11.4 million followers across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. That's compared to roughly 4 million new followers for Trump across those platforms in the same time frame.
Of course, Trump's social media audience is so immense that getting new followers isn't really the problem, and Biden still has a long way to go to catch up with Trump's overall audience. As of Nov. 8, Trump had 146.8 million followers across those four social networks, compared to Biden's 32.7 million. He also has a massive network of hyperpartisan media companies and personalities working overtime to echo his unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud, including on Twitter. While Biden may be gaining ground on Trump's personal Twitter engagement, on Facebook, Trump is still getting millions of interactions a day on his posts.
According to CrowdTangle data, at a certain point on Tuesday afternoon, Trump's Facebook page was drawing 89% of all interactions on presidential and vice presidential candidates' pages. On Wednesday, groups like Nationwide Recount & Audit 2020 and Stop the Steal topped CrowdTangle's charts among Facebook groups discussing voting in the U.S. election. Meanwhile, Trump's own page and other conservative pages that support him continue to dominate the top U.S. posts containing links on Facebook.
In any other race, getting the most interactions on social media doesn't win you much more than bragging rights. But in this spectacularly peculiar election, in which the sitting president is pushing an alternate reality to nearly 150 million people in which he claims he didn't actually lose the election, social media chatter has consequences. According to a new study published Tuesday, Trump's tweets about alleged voter fraud have serious deleterious effects on his followers' trust in elections.
As for who's winning the race on Instagram? Neither Trump nor Biden can claim that title for November. Vice president-elect Kamala Harris ran away with it.