Facebook conversations about Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte increased after a controversial video clip showing his remarks about a Australian rape victim, the social media giant said Friday.
Facebook, in a statement, said Duterte remains the presidential candidate most talked about on the platform, now owning 68% of conversations on presidential candidates on the site.
It added that conversations on Duterte peaked on April 17, 2016, after the controversial video clip. The conversations about the candidate may be either positive or negative.
Duterte has come under fire for his remarks over the gang rape and killing of 36-year-old Jacqueline Hamill, a missionary from Sydney, Australia. Hamill was one of several "prayer warriors" taken hostage by prisoner Federico Pugoy and other inmates inside Davao Metrodiscom in 1989.
In a campaign rally on April 12 in Quezon City, the tough-talking mayor described the missionary as very beautiful and likened her to an American actress.
"T***a, sayang. Ang napasok sa isip ko, ni-rape nila. Pinagpilahan nila. Nagalit ako kasi ni-rape. Oo, isa rin yun. Napakaganda. Dapat ang mayor muna ang mauna," he said, drawing laughter from his supporters.
In an interview, Duterte admitted making those remarks in 1989 but said he was not joking but merely narrating what happened then. Five hostages and 16 prisoners were killed in the hostage crisis, including Pugoy and Hamill.
"In my utter anger, gutter language yan eh. Salitang kanto. Nung binuksan ko, o ito, galit ako nagsasalita. Ang ganda-ganda pa, mukhang artista galing Amerika. P***a, naunahan pa ako. Patayin mo lahat! Sa galit yun. I was not joking," he said.
His camp later issued an apology for Duterte's remarks.
Facebook said, on conversation, Duterte is followed by Mar Roxas, who currently has a 4-percentage point lead over Grace Poe.
With regard to vice presidential candidates, Alan Peter Cayetano is still the most talked about, despite an increase in conversations on Ferdinand Marcos and Leni Robredo.
"When it comes to key issues, transparency is still the most talked about issue among netizens on Facebook. However, there has been an increase in conversations surrounding the economy and infrastructure among those engaged in election-related conversations on the platform," Facebook said.
According to Facebook, 17.9 million people engaged in conversations related to the Philippine elections on the site from November 20, 2015 to April 20, 2016, generating 167 million interactions on the platform. The population most engaged in election-related conversations on Facebook are women between the age of 18 to 24 years old.
Below is a snapshot of the conversations on the Philippine elections on Facebook from November 20, 2015 to April 20, 2016. These percentages are based on the number of Filipinos engaging in conversation related to presidential candidates, vice-presidential candidates, as well as key issues. The data does not indicate intention to vote and does not measure sentiment:
Total conversation, global:
People: 17.9 million
Interactions: 167 million
Total conversation, Philippines only:
People: 15.2 million
Interactions: 137 million
Top Broad Issues, Philippines only:
Social Welfare: 25%
Defense and Foreign Policy: 17%
Top Presidential Candidates, Philippines only:
Rodrigo Duterte: 68%
Mar Roxas: 46%
Grace Poe: 42%
Jejomar Binay: 27%
Miriam Defensor Santiago: 19%
Top VP candidates, Philippines only:
Alan Cayetano: 43%
Ferdinand Marcos: 36%
Leni Robredo: 35%
Francis Escudero: 25%
Antonio Trillanes: 19%
Gregorio Honasan: 4%
Facebook said it defines election-related conversation as any post or comment that contains highly specific and targeted keywords or hashtags related to either the election itself, a candidate, a party, or a specific topic that might be playing a large role in the election itself. An interaction, meanwhile is a post, like, comment, share.
Conversations about a candidate may be either positive or negative.
"Since people may discuss more than one presidential candidate, the percentages will add up to more than 100%. The numbers are however useful for comparing the overall size of discussion for one candidate against another," Facebook said.