Jokowi challenger Prabowo trails in social media popularity

Mr Prabowo Subianto has 3.17 million followers on his Twitter account, far behind Mr Joko Widodo.
Mr Prabowo Subianto has 3.17 million followers on his Twitter account, far behind Mr Joko Widodo.

JAKARTA • Indonesian President Joko Widodo's lone challenger in next year's election, Mr Prabowo Subianto, has a long way to go to catch up with the incumbent's social media popularity as the candidates seek to seize early campaign momentum.

Mr Joko, popularly known as Jokowi, has 10.2 million followers on his Twitter account compared with Mr Prabowo's 3.17 million.

The incumbent President also outnumbers Mr Prabowo on Instagram eight to one, while the latter has about one million more followers than Mr Joko on Facebook.

Mr Joko, also a regular vlogger, has more than 570,000 followers on his YouTube channel, while a search showed no dedicated channel for Mr Prabowo.

Social media is set to be a key battleground for the candidates fighting the April election in a country that boasts of more than 100 million smartphone users who are active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

With an estimated 70 million first-time voters to woo, the candidates are embracing technology like never before.

Mr Joko, 57, is bidding for a second five-year term and has picked the country's top Muslim cleric as his running mate in an attempt to find favour with both liberal and conservative voters.

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2018, with the headline 'Jokowi challenger Prabowo trails in social media popularity'. Print Edition | Subscribe