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Bernie Sanders has been most-followed member of Congress on social media for six years

Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has been the most-followed member of Congress on social media for six years, according to a Pew Research Center analysis released on Monday. 

The Vermont progressive topped the list of lawmakers with the most followers across their official, campaign and personal Facebook and Twitter accounts in the 114th, 115th and 116th Congresses between Jan. 1, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2020. 

Sanders, who ran two presidential campaigns within that time period, had 9.8 million followers in the 114th Congress, 16.5 million in the 115th Congress and 21.7 million in the 116th Congress. 

The senator has remained the most followed congressional lawmaker over three Congresses, while more than doubling his followers, during a time when members’ social media use spiked. 

During the 116th Congress that concluded last year, lawmakers in Congress collectively posted 2.2 million tweets and Facebook posts. That amounts to about 738,000 more posts than the members of the 114th Congress — the first Congress that Pew Research Center has data for. 

The number of lawmakers who had more than 1 million followers across their social media also tripled over the last three Congress sessions, as 10 members reached the threshold in the 114th Congress compared to 30 members in the 116th Congress. 

The list of 30 most followed lawmakers in the most recent Congress, topped by Sanders, created 10 percent of all congressional social media posts. But they accounted for 70 percent of followers, 71 percent of reactions and favorites and 65 percent of shares and retweets of congressional posts.  

The 30 members who had more than 1 million followers included five first-term lawmakers, including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), compared to zero that reached that point in the 114th Congress. 

The 114th Congress had more Republicans than Democrats with more than 1 million followers across social media, but the most recent Congress had twice as many Democrats as Republicans, with 20 and 10, respectively.

Tags 114th Congress 115th Congress 116th Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bernie Sanders Facebook Mitt Romney Pew Research Center Social media social media followers Twitter twitter followers

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