President Donald Trump spends most of his time communicating with people around the globe on Twitter. But over on Facebook, he might be tops. At least, according to Trump himself.

Speaking on Rush Limbaugh's radio show on Monday, Trump said that he recently had dinner with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. And while they were breaking bread, Trump said Zuckerberg called him the biggest attraction on Facebook.

"'[Zuckerberg] said, 'I'd like to congratulate you,' in front of a large group of people. So I'm not ... But he said, 'I'd like to congratulate you. You're number one on Facebook,'" Trump said during the show. He didn't elaborate on the comment, but said it was made "the other day" over dinner.

The problem, however, is that he didn't provide any real information on how, and in what way, he's "number one on Facebook."

If it's follower count Trump or Zuckerberg were referring to, that would be wrong. Trump's official page has 25 million likes and 26.8 million followers. That's far behind former president Barack Obama, who has 54.7 million likes and 53.2 million followers. Soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo has 122.2 million likes and 123.2 million followers.

So, what can we make of Trump's comment? For one, we need to determine whether it's even accurate. And until Zuckerberg says he actually said that to the president of the United States, we're out of luck. 

Assuming it is true that Zuckerberg said it, it's also possible that the Facebook chief executive was trying to ingratiate himself with the president. Facebook and Zuckerberg have faced significant criticism in recent years over allowing Russians to use Facebook as a method for spreading propaganda and having an impact on the 2016 election. In turn, Facebook has said that it will implement a variety of initiatives to limit foreign governments from impacting the 2020 election.

The problem, of course, is that Zuckerberg, if he said what Trump says he said, could've been referring to anything. And it's possible that Zuckerberg was citing some sort of statistic that we don't have ready access to.

But on the statistics that we do have access to, it's abundantly clear that Trump is neither the most popular person on Facebook nor the person with the biggest reach. He is, in other words, far from being "number one on Facebook" in objective measurements, like followers and page likes. 

Still, his reach on social media is big and broad. And that alone could play an important role in what ultimately decides the 2020 election.

Published on: Jan 7, 2020
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