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More popular than Ryan Reynolds: Dr. Tam, politicians beat celebs in new Twitter followers

Click to play video: 'Twitter Canada reviews top tweets, trends and accounts of 2020' Twitter Canada reviews top tweets, trends and accounts of 2020
Twitter Canada managing editor Paul Burns recaps the top trends, tweets and Twitter accounts across the country in an unprecedented year. – Dec 8, 2020

Which Canadians were more popular this year than Drake, Justin Bieber or Ryan Reynolds?

The answer, according to Twitter users who voted with their “follow” buttons, is chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam.

Read more: ‘Long road’ still ahead despite coronavirus vaccine on the horizon, Tam says

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also saw a boost in Twitter followers that placed them on the podium well ahead of Canadian superstars like the Weeknd and Seth Rogen.

According to new data released by Twitter Canada on Tuesday, Tam, Trudeau and Ford saw a bigger jump in their Twitter following this year than any other Canadian accounts on the social media platform. Trudeau topped the list, followed by Ford, while Tam took home the bronze.

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Bieber and Reynolds came in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Click to play video: 'Ryan Reynolds answers B.C. premier’s call for help in getting out the COVID safety message' Ryan Reynolds answers B.C. premier’s call for help in getting out the COVID safety message
Ryan Reynolds answers B.C. premier’s call for help in getting out the COVID safety message – Aug 14, 2020

Alberta’s top doctor Deena Hinshaw also made the top 10 list alongside Quebec Premier Francois Legault and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

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“It wasn’t all that surprising to see accounts like Dr. Tam and Dr. Hinshaw in Alberta ranking with Justin Bieber, Drake and some of the biggest mega stars on our service,” Michele Austin, head of public policy and government at Twitter Canada, said in an emailed statement.

“COVID-19 was easily the biggest topic of conversations for Canadians on Twitter in recent months and this was very much reflected in our recap data of our biggest accounts of 2020.”

Austin said officials like Tam were regularly sharing key links and guidance on their social media accounts as the coronavirus pandemic began to grip the nation. As a result, many Canadians flocked towards the follow button.

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Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Canada’s top doctor warns country could reach 10k daily COVID-19 cases by January' Coronavirus: Canada’s top doctor warns country could reach 10k daily COVID-19 cases by January
Coronavirus: Canada’s top doctor warns country could reach 10k daily COVID-19 cases by January – Dec 4, 2020

Tam gained 171,000 new Canadian followers this year, and more than 230,000 overall fresh followers from around the world. Trudeau clocked in at 267,000 new followers, while Ford posted 180,000 additions to his Twitter audience.

That blows Reynolds and Bieber out of the water, with each gaining around 115,000 new Canadian followers this year.

Global News reached out to Trudeau’s office for his reaction to the news, but his office declined to comment on the Twitter milestone.

In an emailed statement, Ford’s spokesperson also contained her excitement on behalf of the premier.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we have used every tool available to connect with Ontarians to share information about how they can protect their loved ones against COVID-19,” read the entirety of the emailed statement from Ivana Yelich, Ford’s spokesperson.

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Click to play video: 'Twitter updates hate speech rules to include race and ethnicity' Twitter updates hate speech rules to include race and ethnicity
Twitter updates hate speech rules to include race and ethnicity – Dec 3, 2020

While the celebrities still generally enjoy more total followers than the Canadian politicians and doctors overall, the increase shows Tam, Trudeau and others like them might be catching up.

According to a snapshot posted on the Wayback Machine, Tam had just over 8,000 followers on January 10 of this year. She now has over 242,000 followers.

In light of her meteoric social media growth, Tam tweeted some advice on Tuesday for the celebrities she had left in her dust.

“(Justin Bieber, Drake) and (Shawn Mendes) if you start sharing public health messages you could increase your followers too,” she tweeted.

“I’m a doctor, not a popstar! Thanks to all who have followed this account for the latest on public health and #COVID19.”

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