20. CNN (55m followers)
Our first entry into the top 20, and swiftly booting Demi Levato out of it, is news account CNN. Not quite as popular as its breaking news sister account @CNNBRK – currently sitting at number 16 (spoiler alert, sorry) – this news account has just surpassed a massive 55m followers.
19. Britney Spears (55.6m followers)
Our first pop star on the list (and certainly not the last), it’s Britney Spears. Since becoming a worldwide teenage sensation, she’s kept up her career through a mix of controversy and success. Despite being eclipsed by other pop stars today, she’s still one of the most well-known celebrities in the world.
With fame comes Twitter followers, but Britney can also claim some pretty big celeb followers herself. Drake, Cher, and Janet Jackson all follow her.
18. Bill Gates (56m followers)
Bill Gates, one of the founders of Microsoft and someone who is incredibly, incredibly rich, is at number 18. While he made his name in the tech world, he now spends a huge amount of time working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
17. Twitter (60.3m followers)
It’s not exactly a surprise that the account of the platform we’re talking about has a top spot, although you might have expected it’d be higher.
There’s not too much to say on this. People follow the Twitter account because news and developments are posted here, or because they just really like Twitter.
16. CNN Breaking News (61.5m followers)
Next it’s CNN’s breaking news account. A lot of people (myself included) use Twitter to keep abreast of what’s happening in the world.
The account is exactly what you’d expect: regular updates on the biggest stories from around the world.
15. Justin Timberlake (63.3m followers)
Ex-boyband star, now hugely successful solo artist, Timberlake has translated this fame into tens of millions of Twitter followers.
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised about Timberlake’s social media savviness after his appearance in the film The Social Network.
There isn’t a huge amount of promotion on his Twitter, with much more weighting given to videos and pictures of his personal comings and goings. Much more like an Instagram page than others on this list.
14. Elon Musk (63.5m followers)
Elon Musk has become a household name over the years, with launching products from electric cars to rockets (and in one case, literally launching an electric car into space on a rocket). With his interest in crypto currencies and memes, he’s become a magnet for Twitter followers.
13. Selena Gomez (65.2m followers)
Pop stars seem to do well on Twitter, with Selena Gomez next up. She’s one of the biggest acts on the planet as well as being a star actor so, again, it’s no surprise she’s made the list with ease.
The 9th most influential woman on Twitter, you can find Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, and Emma Watson amongst her tens of millions of followers.
Selena’s Twitter account is pretty much dedicated to promoting her music and acting, with the occasional shoutouts to celebrity friends and her personal thoughts.
12. Kim Kardashian West (70.4m followers)
Kim Kardashian and social media are inextricably linked. The world famous businesswoman and TV personality has garnered a huge following on every social media platform she touches.
She’s the 4th most influential woman on Twitter, while she also counts Ariana Grande, Sofia Vergara, and Serena Williams as followers.
She also uses her account much like other people in this list. There’s a lot of promotional stuff (particularly around her KKW Beauty company) along with general updates about her life.
11. Narendra Modi (72.4m followers)
Our first politician of the list, it’s India’s Prime Minister Modi. Modi will be pretty happy about making this list. He’s been an avid Twitter user since 2009, realising early on the influence social media can have on politics.
Having been in power since 2014, his following has gone from strength to strength. If you really want to understand his process here’s a nice piece on his decade on Twitter.
Modi uses his account for exactly what you’d expect of a politician and head of state. He campaigns for his party, talks about issues affecting India, and tweets about diplomacy between his country and others.
10. YouTube (73.6m followers)
Ahead of Twitter’s own account is YouTube who come in at number 10. As the 2nd top site according to Alexa, YouTube’s popularity has crossed platforms giving them one of the most successful accounts on Twitter.
Along with the pithy bio of “Like and subscribe.”, YouTube’s account is pretty straightforward. It simply posts short clips and links to video on their platform.
9. Ellen DeGeneres (77.7m followers)
Next up is Ellen DeGeneres. Host of the massively popular Ellen show, her huge viewing figures have made her a hit on Twitter too.
We can also assume that her famous Oscars tweet that, for a while, was the most retweeted tweet of all time, also has something to do with her high follower count.
8. Lady Gaga (83.8m followers)
With huge successes in music and acting, particularly with her recent performance in the film A Star is Born, Lady Gaga finds herself as the 8th most followed person on Twitter.
She clearly resonates well with her audience too, being the 3rd most influential woman on Twitter, according to our research. Her followers include Miley Cyrus, David Guetta, and Oprah Winfrey.
7. Ariana Grande (84.6m followers)
It’s been a big couple of years for Ariana Grande and with successive hits, she’s rarely been away from the headlines. With the release of her song ‘thank u, next’ kicking up a storm on Twitter, no one will be shocked to see her on this list.
Her Twitter following is pretty star-studded as well, including Jared Leto, Harry Styles, and Lindsay Lohan.
6. Taylor Swift (88.9m followers)
We’re into the final stretch now and in 6th place, we have Taylor Swift. Being one of the biggest pop stars on the planet not only brings you fame and fortune, but Twitter followers too.
Swift is also the most influential person on Twitter according to our research. To make that even more impressive, Taylor Swift barely even tweets.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo (95.3m followers)
Our only sports personality on the list, we have Cristiano Ronaldo. Along with playing for the Portuguese national team, he’s had stints at the biggest clubs in the world including Juventus F.C, Real Madrid, and Manchester United.
The 4th most influential man on Twitter, Ronaldo has some pretty big-name followers including Lil Wayne, Jack Dorsey (as in the CEO of Twitter), and Usain Bolt.
4. Rihanna (103.3m followers)
Another musician in our list (and still not the last), we have megastar and beauty product entrepreneur, Rihanna. With a slew of hits to her name and her Fenty business going from strength to strength, she has managed to grow a huge following on Twitter.
Rihanna’s Twitter has made the news a lot too, in particular with her criticizing Donald Trump for using her songs at his rallies.
3. Katy Perry (108.7m followers)
In third place we have Katy Perry, world famous pop star and girl kisser. From humble beginnings singing in churches, Perry has now established herself as one of the biggest music acts in the world.
The 2nd most influential woman on Twitter, Perry is followed by four members of One Direction (Zayn being the only one who hasn’t), Alicia Keys, and Neil Patrick Harris.
2. Justin Bieber (114m followers)
Justin Bieber has been a near constant presence since his 2010 hit “Baby.” Since then he’s remained in the limelight, updating his style and look as he’s got older, and becoming one of the biggest stars on this here planet.
Some of Bieber’s more notable followers include Jaden Smith, Queen Latifah, and Iggy Azalea. He’s also the 7th most influential man on Twitter too.
1. Barack Obama (130.1m followers)
In first place we have two-term President of the United States, Barack Obama. It’ll be no shock that holding the most powerful office in the world gets you a lot of followers.
With the presidency behind him, Obama mostly tweets about his other activities, such as the work being done by his Obama Foundation.