The Swift Effect: What Brands Can Learn from Taylor Swift
By Emily SmithFeb 29
Published November 29th 2023
Here's a list of the most followed accounts on X.
We start off the list with CNN. CNN has amassed an impressive number of followers on X. CNN is a US-based news channel owned by Warner Bros, with remarkable viewership numbers.
Posting multiple times every hour, CNN’s team is quick to keep their followers updated with the latest news. This consistent presence on X has given the news network an impressive reputation as a reliable source of the latest information.
Hugely successful solo artist, and ex-boyband star, Justin Timberlake is next on our list. As one of the world's best-selling music artists, with sales of over 88 million records, it’s not surprising that his loyal fanbase wants to hear from him on Twitter.
Timberlake’s feed mostly consists of sharing his latest adventures, TV appearances, and music releases.
Next, it’s CNN’s breaking news account. More popular than the network’s regular account, which is also on the list, this account is home to regular breaking news updates from the network.
Many individuals on social media use X to know what’s happening in the world. The account is exactly what you’d expect: regular updates on the biggest stories from around the world.
Bill Gates remains on this list at number 17. As co-founder of Microsoft and someone who is incredibly, incredibly rich, it’s no wonder so many fans are curious to follow his posts. While he made his name in the tech world, he now spends a huge amount of time working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2022, the foundation announced a plan to increase payouts to $9 billion annually by 2026 to tackle climate change, rising inflation, and more.
Pop stars seem to do well on X, with Selena Gomez next up. She’s one of the biggest acts on the planet and a star actor – so it's no surprise she’s made the list with ease.
While she’s moved down two spots in our list since July 2023, Selena is still the seventh most followed woman on X, and you can find Katy Perry and Justin Timberlake among her tens of millions of followers. Selena’s X account is pretty much dedicated to promoting her music and acting, with the occasional shoutouts to celebrity friends and her personal thoughts.
It's not surprising that X’s own account has a top spot. People follow X’s account to learn about new features from the source – or simply because they just really like the platform.
Along with new app and platform updates, and other X-related content, the account seems to have leaned into X-style talk with short, often cryptic, posts that follow the colloquialisms of the platform. And it works.
Next up is Ellen DeGeneres. Host of the massively popular Ellen Show, her huge viewing figures have made her a hit on X too. Despite the show no longer running, Ellen's influence is still growing.
We can also assume that her famous Oscars post, which, for a while, was the most reposted on X post of all time, also has something to do with her high follower count. A lot of her posts are pictures and clips from her Ellen show, but a few personal posts also appear occasionally.
Kim Kardashian’s empire doesn’t slack off on social. The world-famous businesswoman and TV personality has garnered a huge following on every social media platform she touches.
She’s the sixth most followed woman on X and counts Ariana Grande, Sofia Vergara, and Serena Williams as followers. She also uses her account much like other people on this list. There’s a lot of promotional stuff (particularly around her businesses), along with general updates about her life.
NASA’s growing X following is one to be admired. The brand uses its X account to share insider information about the behind-the-scenes of the space agency. From sharing employees’ stories to insights behind the latest mission, millions follow NASA to stay up-to-date on the latest news.
YouTube comes in at number 11. This video-sharing platform is the second most-visited website behind Google Search, and YouTube’s popularity has crossed platforms, giving them one of the most successful accounts on X.
Along with the pithy bio of “Like and subscribe.”, YouTube’s account is pretty straightforward. It simply posts short clips and links to videos on its platform. Simple and a really good way to shine a spotlight on deserving YouTubers.
With huge successes in music and acting, with an upcoming appearance as Harley Quinn in the new Joker film in 2024, Lady Gaga finds herself as the 10th most followed person on X. Her followers include Miley Cyrus, David Guetta, and Oprah Winfrey.
Her account is mostly updates on her music and acting, along with the activities of her Born This Way Foundation.
New entry in our chart: Donald Trump is back on X. Previously banned from X for over a year, Trump’s account has now been reinstated. Trump’s X profile currently features his mug shot pinned at the top of his feed.
Our first politician on the list is India’s Prime Minister Modi. He’s been an avid X user since 2009, realizing early on the influence social media can have on politics.
Having been in power since 2014, his following has gone from strength to strength. 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 posts about diplomacy between his country and others.
Being one of the biggest pop stars on the planet brings you fame and fortune, as well as X followers. The release of Taylor's recent album, Midnights, led to a huge increase of engagement on her posts, which now get hundreds of thousands of likes. Impressive.
In sixth place, we have Katy Perry, the world-famous pop star. From humble beginnings singing in churches, Perry has now established herself as one of the biggest music acts in the world.
The second most influential woman on X, Perry uses X to post her thoughts and personal messages rather than flooding the feed with promotional posts (although they come up every so often too).
Into the top five, and Rihanna is next on the list. Another musician, and still not the last, we have this megastar and beauty product entrepreneur. With a slew of hits to her name and her Fenty business going from strength to strength, she has grown a huge X following.
Rihanna’s X account has the usual promotional stuff, including info about her latest releases and collaborations.
Cristiano Ronaldo is up at number 4. Along with captaining the Portuguese national team as well as Saudi Professional League club Al Nassr, he’s had stints at the biggest clubs in the world, including Juventus F.C, Real Madrid, and Manchester United.
Ronaldo has some big-name followers, including Lil Wayne, Jack Dorsey (the former CEO of X), and Usain Bolt.
Ronaldo’s recent posts have gained incredible traction, with hundreds of thousands of likes on the below post. Fans are keen to see what he shares next.
Justin Bieber has been a near-constant following since his career started. He’s remained in the limelight, updating his style and look as he’s gotten older and become one of the biggest stars on the planet. And definitely the biggest popstar on X.
Some of Bieber’s more notable followers include Jaden Smith, Queen Latifah, and Iggy Azalea. Posts come sparingly; they’re just as often random thoughts and the type of content any other X user might post.
In second place, we have the ex-President of the United States, Barack Obama. It’s no shock that holding the most powerful office in the world gets you a lot of followers. But who knew he’d still be the second-most followed person on X six years post-presidency?
With this behind him, Obama mostly posts about his daily activities, such as the work being done by his Obama Foundation.
Elon Musk’s X presence has only grown over the years. He’s skyrocketed to the top of this list, especially after his announcement to purchase Twitter (and changing the name to X).
Musk has become a household name over the years, from launching products like electric cars to rockets (in one case, literally launching an electric car into space on a rocket). With his interest in cryptocurrencies and memes, he's become a magnet for X followers.