MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is well known for being the social media capital of the world, and true to form, Facebook is abuzz with conversations about the upcoming elections.
According to Facebook, a total of 12 million people around the world participated in conversations about the elections from November 20, 2015 to March 8, 2016, resulting in more than 81 million interactions.
Out of over 49 million Facebook users in the country, more than 20% are “actively engaged and are sharing their opinions on key election issues."
Who are they talking about?
Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte remains the most talked about presidential candidate while Bongbong Marcos, son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, has surpassed Duterte's running mate, Alan Cayetano. The totals add up to more than 100% since people may post or discuss more than one candidate at the same time.
Facebook conversations regarding Duterte peaked when he announced that he was running for president, mid-November. There was a noticeable spike mid-December for conversations about Mar Roxas. It was around this time that a debate was sparked about whether or not he really graduated from Wharton. Recently, however, it's Grace Poe who's seen a spike in conversations, with the Supreme Court allowing her to continue her bid for president.
For the vice presidential candidates, Bongbong Marcos peaked in mid-December as he shared his views on the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Conversations surrounding Alan Cayetano, on the other hand, peaked towards the end of November. It was around this time that Duterte declared Cayetano to be his running mate.
What are they talking about?
Transparency remains a hot election issue for Filipinos, reaching its peak in late February during the first round of debates, followed by the economy and education issues. (Read: To-Fix List: What issues should 2016 candidates address?)
Facebook has become an important platform for citizens to discuss both their choices and the issues that matter to most of them. For the candidates, it has become a new way to interact with their voters.
"Facebook is making it easier for people to participate in the elections debate and have a real impact. 12 million people have engaged in the Philippine elections on Facebook since November, generating 81 million interactions. People are asking questions, expressing their views, and sharing election news," said Elizabeth Hernandez, head of public policy, APAC for Facebook.