Observing Malaysian Social Media

Posts Tagged ‘census

Census of Facebook Users in Malaysia, Dec 2012

View this document on Scribd

The following is the executive summary, included in the Scribd document above.

Executive Summary

This document describes the population of Facebook users in Malaysia based on public information collected from Facebook.  The goal is to provide a point of reference for social media marketing and a report on Malaysian interest in politics.

Personal characteristics and interests in topics such as Pakatan Rakyat (PR), Barisan Nasional(BN), coalition leaders, Bersih, 1Malaysia and both mainstream media (MSM) and online alternative media publications were measured by age group and gender.

Users interested in a topic are considered the fan-base for that topic. Research focused on potential voters (users aged 21 years and above).


Malaysia has a total population of 13.5 million Facebook users. The population is male-dominant – 53% are male and 47% are female.

Out of the total population, 9 million are potential voters – 54% are male and 46% are female.

Results of the analysis show that men are more interested in politics than women, but the overall population has little interest in politics. Only 8.8% of total potential voters expressed interest in PR and BN parties.

The research drew attention to a possible relationship between the male-female ratios of each topic’s fan-base:

  • Female bias was present in the fan-base for Malay-language MSM, Chinese-language MSM.
  • Female bias was strongest in the fan-base for 1Malaysia.
  • Male bias was present in the fan-base for English-language MSM and Barisan Nasional parties.
  • Male bias was strongest in the fan-base for Pakatan Rakyat parties, Bersih and online alternative media.

For female-dominated topics, there is 1Malaysia and Malay-language MSM. The 1Malaysia brand is associated with BN and Malay-language MSM tends to give more coverage to BN parties.

For male-dominated topics, there is PR, Bersih and online alternative media. Bersih is a coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGO) seeking electoral reform. Bersih is strongly supported by PR. Online alternative media tends to give more coverage to PR parties compared to mainstream media.

PR’s fan-base is 1.5 times larger than BN’s fan-base. However the gap between BN and PR is small when it comes to women and PR’s fan-base is more male dominant compared to BN. This means that BN can overtake PR when it comes to potential women voters.


Population growth in November showed that both BN and PR’s fan-base were becoming less male-dominant. However BN started with a more favourable position in terms of gender balance.

Both 1Malaysia and Malay-language MSM have a female-dominant fan-base, which is a good market for BN to draw users from.

PR does not have a female-dominant source to draw from. Bersih and online alternative media are too male-dominant. The main source left to draw from are women who currently do not show an interest in politics, which is a challenge faced by both coalitions.

This places BN in a better position than PR to increase its share of interest from potential women voters.

Written by politweet

January 16, 2013 at 12:54 am

Partisanship of Politicians’ Followers by Affiliation

View the high-resolution image at (http://www.flickr.com/photos/politweet/7842715014/in/photostream/)

This network graph shows the connections between Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) with their followers on Twitter. It visualises the size of the followers exclusive to each coalition, and the size of the overlap. This version is colour-saturated to show the partisanship a bit more clearly.

This graph is based on a snapshot of followers taken on August 2nd 2012. There are 1,036,932 total followers.

How to read this graph

  1. The red node represents PR. The blue node represents BN. The nodes are sized based on the number of followers.
  2. Each grey node represents 1 Twitter user. A node is connected to BN/PR if that user follows BN/PR.
  3. Connections to BN are blue, connections to PR are red. Overlapping (purple) connections indicate non-exclusive users.
  4. Connection strength is based on the number of politicians followed by the user.
  5. Nodes that are connected only to BN or PR are exclusive to that coalition.

Facts and Observations

  1. PR has 314,302 followers. BN has 876,138 followers. BN has 2.788 times more followers than PR.
  2. Active followers have used Twitter in the last 1-2 months.PR has 188,045 (59.83%) active followers. BN has 507,899 (57.97%) active followers.
  3. PR has 151,822 (48.3%) exclusive followers. BN has 719,341 (82.1%) exclusive followers.
  4. PR has a relatively small group of exclusive followers compared to BN. The PR-exclusive followers are the left-most semi-circular clusters (forming a red ‘fan’), representing 48% of all PR followers. The remainder of PR’s followers follow both BN and PR.
  5. The BN-exclusive group are concentrated in the top and bottom clusters. Its clear that either cluster is bigger than the PR-exclusive cluster.
  6. PR-exclusive followers start following both BN and PR at an average rate of 1935 users/month.
  7. BN-exclusive followers start following both BN and PR at an average rate of 929 users/month.
  8. PR-exclusive and BN-exclusive followers switch parties at very small rates, between 19-59 users/month.
  9. PR has grown from 269,473 followers in March 2012 to 314,302 followers in August 2012. That is a growth rate of 16.64%.
  10. BN has grown from 624,227 followers in March 2012 to 876,138 followers in August 2012. That is a growth rate of 40.63%.


PR has a slow follower growth rate and a higher migration rate of exclusive followers to non-exclusive status. This indicates that PR followers are more open to receiving messages from BN.

BN has a high follower growth rate and a lower migration rate of exclusive followers to non-exclusive status. This indicates that BN followers are less open to receiving messages from PR.

Barisan Nasional is doing quite well for itself. One area that could use improvement is the number of active followers.

Pakatan Rakyat faces a number of challenges. First is to ensure their followers don’t move towards being BN-exclusive. Second challenge is to get more BN followers to move away from being BN-exclusive to being non-exclusive; or PR-exclusive. This will help expose users to PR policies and ideologies. If they can repeat the PR message to BN-exclusive users, that will help improve the migration rate and encourage even more users to follow.

Both coalitions need to acquire more active followers who will help spread their message through retweets.

Breakdown of BN followers:

Total: 876,138
Suspended: 21,091
Observer (0 tweets, 0 followers): 123,825
Inactive (no change in last 2 months): 223,323
Active: 507,899

Breakdown of PR followers:

Total: 314,302
Suspended: 8,055
Observer (0 tweets, 0 followers): 25,398
Inactive (no change in last 2 months): 92,804
Active: 188,045

Observer accounts are potential dummies. However many people do use Twitter as a news reader, so you can expect a significant number of Observer users to be real people. Many users also leave their accounts idle until there is a live event happening.

Update 23/8/2012 (in response to comments on fake accounts)
The issue of a dummy account needs to be raised together with a definition of what is considered a dummy. BN’s high follower count has being attributed to fake accounts, bot accounts and inactive accounts by civil servants and UMNO members forced to sign up on Twitter. These are the types of accounts that would eventually be detected and fall under the Observer and Inactive categories stated above.

Many of BN’s followers can be attributed to the Prime Minister (@NajibRazak). Without Najib, BN’s follower stats are quite different.

Breakdown of BN followers (not including @NajibRazak):

Total: 374,563
Suspended: 11,400
Observer (0 tweets, 0 followers): 49,167
Inactive (no change in last 2 months): 60,243
Active: 253,753

446,146 (56.87%) of Najib’s 784,477 followers are active. Najib gets retweeted often by a large number of users, so the influence of the account during the next GE cannot be discounted. A detailed analysis of Najib’s followers is definitely something worth exploring in future.

Dummy accounts make it look like the social media companies in charge are hitting their target, so they can earn their commission. But creating 100+K dummy accounts does not seem practical. You need an email for each, then signup on Twitter, then click the verification email, login and follow Najib – it is a lot of work.

Written by politweet

August 23, 2012 at 4:22 am

Location of politicians’ active followers (as of Feb 2012)

Politweet ran two censuses of politicians’ followers on Twitter, on December 4th 2011 and February 25th 2012. Based on the results it became clear that followers fell into 3 categories:

1) Suspended – Twitter includes suspended users in the list of followers. It is not known whether these suspended users eventually get deleted, our data from 2009 shows that a follower count constantly increases

2) Dummy – these are users who have 0 tweets and 0 followers. They may be automated bots or accounts created for the sole purpose of passive consumption of tweets

3) Inactive – these are users who have shown no change in their activity stats (tweets, friend count) in the last 3 months. They may have stopped using Twitter entirely, or switched to passive consumption
4) Active – users who have tweeted or followed/unfollowed others in the last 3 monthsThese charts are based on active followers because they are the ones most likely to spread information within the Twitter network.

The country of residence for each user was derived from their stated location and in some cases, language and time zone. Time zone was used minimally because most users leave it at the default (Alaska) and many users state the wrong time-zone. For example, we found 2500 users who stated their time zone as Beijing. Based on the names, location and latest tweets from a sample, we found that most of them are actually Malaysians. So we had to avoid using time zone to determine location. The country could not be determined for 413,271 users.

For the most part, both political coalitions have minor percentage differences for their followers. Barisan Nasional (BN) active follower base is 2.22 times larger than Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR), so for most countries BN has more followers. However when it comes to Indonesia, PR has attracted more followers than BN. Anwar Ibrahim is the main contributing factor as 2,381 or 40.96% of PR’s Indonesian followers only follow him.

That is the only point worth noting for now, but as we run more censuses we should be able to determine growth trends among followers.

Ahmed Kamal
29th March 2012

Summary of the data, from census done between February 25th – March 1st 2012

There are 636,949 followers in the total population. 274,328 (43.07%) are active.
BN has 512,433 followers. 226,844 (44.27%) are active.
PR has 239,767 followers. 102,134 (42.60%) are active.

*numbers shown are count of users

Barisan Nasional (BN) followers
MY 121055
Unknown 97924
ID 1386
GB 1310
AU 858
DE 662
SG 661
KR 609
US 573
JP 294
IN 210
EG 209
TH 154
BN 147
RU 115
CA 94
TR 76
FR 71
AE 69
NZ 64
IE 56
PH 52
BD 47
CN 46
PK 43
HK 33
NL 26

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) followers

MY 52881
Unknown 39336
ID 5812
GB 891
AU 679
SG 487
US 368
EG 251
KR 170
JP 166
IN 130
TH 111
PH 106
DE 103
PK 78
TR 78
RU 75
BD 63
CA 55
HK 49
BN 46
NZ 45
AE 39
CN 35
IE 32
FR 25
NL 23

Written by politweet

March 29, 2012 at 3:44 am