Gay equality organisation Stonewall has launched a new Facebook page as everyone from MPs to aspiring pop stars continue to use the social networking site to connect with friends and supporters.

Tory leader David Cameron boasts 2,985 supporters on Facebook – rebel MP and Big Brother alumnus George Galloway has 4,995.

US Presidential candidates fare slightly better, a sign of the increasing importance of the internet in American politics.

Barack Obama, who is expected to become the Democratic party nominee for the White House, has 830,030 supporters. His rival Hillary Clinton can claim the support of 156,078 Facebookers.

While politicians use Facebook to drum up support, and most of the rest of us use it to keep up with friends, for charities it can be a vital, and cheap, promotional tool.

“Charities’ use of online communities is becoming more prevalent,” Helen Beckett, head of communications at Media Trust, told The Guardian.

“These networks are joined and maintained by individuals rather than organisations, which makes them great for raising awareness or fundraising among friends, peers and colleagues. They are informal but extremely powerful.”

Sexual health charity THT, for example, supports a Facebook campaign calling for an end to the US entry ban on HIV positive people. Nearly 6,000 people have signed up.

Laura Doughty, Stonewall’s Director of Fundraising and Communications, told PinkNews.co.uk:

“We have several Facebook profiles including our main Stonewall fan page where you can access all our other groups and causes including our Some People Are Gay. Get Over It! campaign, Stonewall Scotland etc.

“It’s a good way to let supporters know what we’re up to – especially events. So with the upcoming Barcelona fundraising walk, for example, we can use the Stonewall fan page to send supporters an invitation.

“It is also an excellent way to engage with new people, some of whom could have the potential to donate.”