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Trump, Obama dominate Twitter year, but chicken nuggets prevail

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Carter Wilkerson (centre) beat Trump (left) and Obama with 3.6 million retweets in his campaign for a year’s supply of chicken nuggets.

[NEW YORK] US President Donald Trump continued to dominate Twitter in 2017 even though former President Barack Obama's tweets were more liked and both were blown away by one man's quest for free chicken nuggets.

Twitter revealed the year's most liked and retweeted tweets on Tuesday, reflecting how a nation bitterly divided between Republicans and Democrats is likewise split on social media.

Mr Trump, whose 44 million followers of @realDonaldTrump rank him 21st on Twitter, was the most tweeted about world leader and US elected official.

Likewise @FoxNews, the conservative cable news channel, was the top tweeted news outlet, led by @SeanHannity, the host who is a friend and ally of the president.

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Mr Obama was also well-represented.

The former president, whose @BarackObama ranked as the third-most-followed Twitter account behind @katyperry and #justinbieber, posted the most popular tweet: nearly 4.6 million likes for the Nelson Mandela quote, "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion," with a picture of Mr Obama greeting a diverse group of babies through a window.

That was also the second most retweeted item at 1.7 million times.

No president could compete with free nuggets, however. A 16-year-old named Carter Wilkerson, @carterjwm, garnered 3.6 million retweets in his campaign for a free lifetime supply of nuggets from Wendy's.

He came up short of Wendy's target of 18 million retweets for a lifetime supply, but the effort earned him one year's worth and a US$100,000 donation in his name to the Wendy's-linked Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

The top four new US political accounts were some of Mr Trump's most forceful critics, led by @PreetBharara, the former federal prosecutor he fired. Next came @SallyQYates, the former acting attorney general who was also fired by Mr Trump.

Third was former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes, @brhodes, followed by Mr Obama's former official photographer, @PeteSouza, who has tweeted flattering pictures of Mr Obama during some of Mr Trump's most criticised moments.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, @SHSanders45, rounded out the top five.

Other results underscored the punch and counterpunch of politics.

Right behind @FoxNews on the top tweeted news outlet list was @CNN, which Mr Trump derides as fake news.

The most tweeted activist hashtag was #Resist, as in resist Mr Trump, followed by #MAGA for Trump's slogan Make America Great Again.

Among national leaders, Mr Trump was followed by @narendramodi of India, @NicolasMaduro of Venezuela and @RT-Erdogan of Turkey.

REUTERS