PKR and PAS have overtaken DAP as the opposition parties receiving the most interest on Facebook, according to a new Politweet survey charting its continued decline on the social media platform.
The social media researcher found that the audience for DAP was now just 1.1 million Facebook users or just under a quarter of its previous peak of 4.6 million in January this year.
PKR is now the opposition party with the largest audience on Facebook with 1.8 million users expressing interest in it, while PAS is second with 1.6 million.
Prior to the start of its slide in May, DAP had been tracking Umno in terms of generating interest and was by far the opposition party that gained the most attention on Facebook.
“DAP is now the weakest opposition party on Facebook compared to PKR and PAS, and will likely face challenges getting their message across on Facebook,” Politweet said in the survey.
The fading interest in DAP was also universal in terms of gender, age and state.
While female interest has spiked in the previous month’s survey to offset the loss of male attention, both genders paid less heed to the political party this time around. The number of males expressing interest in DAP is now 890,000 while the figure for females is 240,000.
At their highest, DAP had over three million males and 1.8 million females expressing interest in the party during different periods.
Comparatively, the audience for Umno has remained steady among both sexes, and is now at 3.6 million for males and 3.2 million for females.
Geographically, interest in DAP fell in every state including its supposed stronghold of Penang; the party lost 69 per cent of interest in the state during a time when PKR, PAS and Umno all gained additional attention on Facebook there.
Among the opposition, the global loss was unique to DAP; PKR and PAS both made gains in most states.
PKR advanced most notably in Kuala Lumpur, where interest rose over 135 per cent, but lost 44 per cent in Selangor where its deputy president, Azmin Ali, is mentri besar.
Loss of interest by age was also universal for DAP, with reductions of between 45 per cent and 74 per cent in all categories, and worst in the 13-20 and 31-50 groups; overall, the reduction was 62.21 per cent.
Umno also lost 9 per cent in the 13-20 group, but gained in every other age group for a net gain of 37 per cent since the end of 2014.
The reason for DAP’s steady decline could not be determined directly from the data, but Politweet said it could be extrapolated from events prior to each major change in interest levels.
It noted that interest in DAP peaked when the party cut ties with PAS over their disagreement on hudud in March 2015, and dropped after it declared the death of Pakatan Rakyat in June the same year.
Politweet cited its previous Twitter study that showed a lack of interest in DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng’s corruption charges, which it concluded to be an indication of the party’s lack of popularity.
“This lack of interest was also visible between March — April 2016 when allegations against Lim Guan Eng first surfaced,” Politweet added in its inference on the likely cause of DAP’s drop.
Although PKR and PAS both picked up interest, this was not enough to mitigate the sharp losses registered by DAP.
Cumulatively, opposition parties now command just 4.76 per cent of exclusive interest on Facebook, or approximately 400,000 users.
Barisan Nasional (BN) conversely rose to its highest recorded share of attention, climbing from 51.69 per cent in July to 60.71 in August, or around 5.1 million users.