Among potential 2022 presidential candidates, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso and Sen. Manny Pacquiao are the most influential political personalities on Facebook, a recent social media influence report revealed.

WR Numero Research, a public opinion and data analytics tech company, released on July 9 their Social Media Political Influence Report on the social media political influence of personalities who may run for higher public office in 2022.

In the report, Domagoso and Pacquiao registered +39 percent and +37 percent, respectively, also having high levels of engagement and sentiment shares. Other personalities with a positive influence share were Taguig-Pateros 1st District Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Sen. Grace Poe, and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.

On the other hand, former senator Antonio Trillanes IV was the least influential with −6.69 percent, followed by Sen. Bong Go (−2.58 percent) and Vice President Leni Robredo (−0.53 percent)

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte had a little above zero percentage influence share (+0.05 percent) because negative sentiments canceled out the positive.

Only the Manila mayor was positively received in his official page and both mainstream and alternative media pages, while others have mixed results. On the other hand, Pacquiao and Trillanes were the least influential in mainstream media Facebook pages.

For potential candidates in the Senate, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Sec. Mark Villar recorded +34 percent in overall influence share, followed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros (+15 percent) and Cayetano (+10.33 percent). In contrast, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo consistently received negative sentiments with −4.96 percent, along with Anakalusugan Rep. Michael Defensor and Sen. Dick Gordon.

Many potential senatorial candidates also have high sentiment shares but low engagement shares such as House Majority Floor Leader Martin Romualdez, Sorsogon Gov. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, House Deputy Speaker and Batangas 6th District Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, among others.

Villar and Presidential spokesman Harry Roque were the top-two possible candidates with high positive influence in their Facebook pages, but in terms of how they were well-received in the mainstream media Facebook pages, Villar has the most positive influence, while Roque consistently received the most negative sentiments in both mainstream and alternative media.

WR Numero Research monitored official Facebook pages of political personalities, as well as pages of mainstream and alternative media from April to June this year. After it collected online texts, such as posts and comments, the firm conducted a supervised sentiment analysis using their proprietary analytics software to compute for different measures of social media political influence.

The research group said there is a need to measure political influence in social media for the 2022 elections as political campaigns shift to digital platforms and social media became a “powerful factor” in electoral success, especially with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We believe that the proper understanding and measurement of public perceptions can only be generated through the application of advanced, eclectic and latest social science tools, methodologies and concepts in the study of human and political behavior,” it said.

“It is also worth mentioning that maintaining an online presence is no longer sufficient in the current era, as gaining digital political influence is the key to developing broad public support and trust,” it added.

The Philippines will have its general elections on May 9, 2022. Jelo Ritzhie Mantaring