FACEBOOK AS A MEDIUM FOR POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS DURING THE LAST MAY 2013 LOCAL ELECTIONS IN BACOLOD CITY
Facebook as a medium of political campaigns
during the May 2013 Election assessed by the firsttime voters in the College of Arts and Sciences of
the University of St. La Salle
Mereria, Christine Marie
According to Rappler (2012), in a minute, there’s an
average of 5 Filipinos that log on to their respective Facebook
accounts to either update their status, upload photos or even
just to check their friends’ updates. In an hour, almost 300
Filipino users open their Facebook accounts which lead
Philippines to rank 8th in the world and is considered to be a
Facebook country. Also, about 1,226, 960 users were added over
the past 6 months.
From these statistics, politicians tend to use social media
in their political campaigns during elections. Social Media has
become a new battleground for them to test how popular and
influential they can be by gathering more supporters through
these social networking sites.
House to house campaigns, rallies, and outreach
activities are just some of the traditional campaigns during
elections, but nowadays traditional campaigns and new media
combine in the form of social media campaigns.
Social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are
being used in campaigning since 2010 elections in the
During the May 2013 midterm elections in Bacolod City,
Facebook was bombarded by different campaigns of electoral
candidates running for different Government offices. They’ve
created fan pages which contained their platforms, schedules,
political jingles, photos and campaign related videos. In this way
they can update their supporters faster regarding their schedule
of activities and through the Facebook buttons like shares and
likes they can monitor their performance and identify how
popular they were during the election campaign.
Different types of Political campaigns in Facebook during the last
May 2013 Midterm Elections
As avid Facebook users, the researchers have observed
that Facebook has been utilized as an avenue for political
campaigns. The higher visibility of political campaigns in
Facebook during the campaign period for the last May 2013
midterm elections sparked interest to conduct this study.
Statement of the Problem
This research aimed to study Facebook as a medium of political
campaigns during the last May 2013 midterm elections and how
the first-time voters from USLS’CAS assess it.
Specifically, the research aimed to answer the following
What were the contents in the political campaigns of the
electoral candidates posted in the Facebook account of the
Were the respondents’ decision-making affected by the
information of the political campaigns found in their Facebook
What were the bases of respondents?
Who posted their campaigns in Facebook account?
How effective is Facebook as a medium of political
campaigns for the electoral candidates?
Lazersfeld and Katz Two-step model of Communication
Fig.1 The relationship between Political campaigns in Facebook and Voters’
Facebook has influenced the decision-making of the firsttime voters who have seen the political campaigns in their
Scope and Limitations of the Study
The research will be aimed towards the first time voters
of the last May 2013 midterm elections. The respondents will be
students from the College of Arts & Sciences enrolled in the
University of St. La Salle – Bacolod for A.Y. 2013 – 2014.
The study conducted aims to show the impact of Facebook as
a means of political campaigning amongst the youth, especially
towards the first time voters of the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod.
The study was conducted during the second semester of
Academic Year 2013-2014 and covered 150 students coming from
different CAS Majors.
Initially, the researchers set 200 as the target number of
respondents but were unable to do so because of the following
The survey was too filtered.
The study only focused on students from the College of Arts &
Some of the desired respondents are not registered voters
Some respondents lacked knowledge about politics and have
not heard of the political candidates listed down in the questionnaire.
Some respondents were not active Facebook users.
Lack of time to conduct the survey proved to be a major
setback for the group.
Significance of the Study
The study may be significant to the following:
• College Students (18 years old and above). College students will learn the
different factors about a certain political campaign of a candidate, in
which their electoral decision-making could be influenced. Moreover,
college students are new and fragile in the whole voting scenario.
• Professionals. Professionals will be able to gain knowledge as to how the
youth of today engage in politics. Also, this will enlighten them on the
background of political campaigns in Facebook, the tactics used by the
politicians and the interactions they give to their followers.
• Media. Since Facebook is a popular campaign tool, Media finds it easy to
search for news about political candidates in their Facebook pages.
Through this study, Media could determine the factors that underlies why
Facebook is considered a popular campaign tool in this modern times.
Definition of Terms
Like is a function in Facebook that allows people to express their
preference over a piece of information.
Link is a clickable function in Facebook that allows users to open or
access another website
Posting means the encoding of text, photo, video, music, graphic
Interchange Format (GIF) and other related materials in a message
Hashtag (#) is a clickable link that leads you to all the posts made
related to the topic.
First-Time Voters is the variable being tested in this study. They are
comprised of people from the age of 18.
Share is the activity in Facebook that enables users to post others’
prior posts in their own timeline.
Timeline is where all activities of the Facebook user is being shown.
Newsfeed is where the posts of one’s Facebook friends appear.
This study used the correlational research design in which is
most appropriate in resolving the relationship between the
independent and dependent variable in the study: Facebook and
The respondents were the first-time voters in Bacolod City for
the last May 2013 midterm elections and enrolled for the first
semester School Year 2013-2014 in the College of Arts and Sciences of
University of St. La Salle. They were located through a non-probability
sampling technique or the snowball sampling.
The study used a non-probability sampling technique or the snowball
sampling. The population sample is the College of Arts and Sciences
which we set into a quota of 150 respondents.
The researchers used a group administered
questionnaires which will be used to survey a set of people. (See
Appendix). The first block marked by a Roman numeral (I)
indicates the background information which includes their name,
age, address, course, year level and sex. The next block is allotted
for the series of checklists which will provide the data of their
personal activities and initial impulses on political campaigns on
the social media sites specifically on Facebook
The last block comprised of two checklists that will help
us further determine whether or not the political campaigning
done by the candidates through Facebook really made an impact
towards the first-time voters’ decision.
VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY OF THE INSTRUMENT
The instrument used was checked by the research adviser,
Mr. Virgilio Aguilar, who approved the content and the
appropriateness of the questions asked.
Also, Mr. Julius
Mariveles, Mr. Roderick Samonte and Mr. George Aguilar gave
their insights and corrections to the instrument.
DATA GATHERING PROCEDURE
The questionnaires were distributed from October 2 to 4.
The questionnaires were given to the College of Arts and Sciences
students, using the snowball technique. The researchers haven’t
had a specific sample size for each course, considering only the
targeted 200 respondents. Since, the target was not reached; it
was lowered down to 150 respondents.
Bachelor of Arts
Number of copies
Bachelor of Science
Table 1. Number of Copies per Course
The statistical tools that were used for the interpretation of the data
are as follows:
Descriptive statistics such as frequency, percentages, means
and ranks were used to summarize the following data:
Profile of the students according their course, age and address.
Access to internet,
Hours spent on using Facebook; in a day, in a week, in a
Political campaign contents posted on Facebook; photos:
Campaign Posters, Political activities, videos: Political jingles (positive
and against other candidates), Political Advocacies, text: schedule of
political activities, platforms, Facebook status.
Candidates that created their Facebook page campaign
Responses if the Facebook campaign influences the voters’
PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
Table 2. Classification of USLS CAS First time voters according to their
course and age
Campaign posters = 89 = 58.2%
Political activities= 64 = 41.8%
In Figure 7, it is indicated that more respondents have
known political propagandas against the other party of the running
candidate, 36.7%. According to Mayorga, a sociologist, negative
propaganda defies freedom of expression and democracy
connection. Moreover, it is an issue of ethical campaign and
considering the electoral traditions since then. Positive jingles have
33.3% of the population response and 30% is the advocacy videos.
A) Schedule = 40 = 28.8%
B) Platforms = 55= 39.3%
C) Status = 45 = 32.1%
Political candidates who posted on Facebook last May 2013
a) Cana =23 = 13.6%
b) Golez = 72 = 42.6%
c) Leonardia = 65 = 38.5%
d) Palma =9 = 5.3%
Even if Golez topped the Facebook
campaigns, Bing Leonardia won as
the city congressman.
a) Puentevella =105 = 65.6%
b) Sayson = 55 =34.4%
Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella wins over
Sayson with 65.6% while Sayson only got 34.4%. This
implies that Puentevella’s political campaigns in Facebook
might have paved the way of his winning the mayoral
Greg Gasataya topped the
Vice-Mayoral position with
42%, closest to him is
Vladimir Gonzales with 36%.
Quite afar from the first two,
Renecito Novero comes third
with only 15.33% and Johram
Alama with 6.7 %. Greg
Gasataya won the ViceMayoral position, so it could
be implied that he did well
with his political campaigns,
also reflected in his Facebook
a) Alama= 10 = 6.7%
b) Gasataya = 63 = 42%
c) Gonzales = 54 = 36%
d) Novero = 23 = 15.33%
Bobby Rojas tops the list with 6.1%, Em Ang comes next with 5.6%,
followed by Kalaw Puentevella’s 5.3%, Ceasar Distrito comes fourth with
4.7%, Israel Salanga comes fifth with 4%, El Cid Familiarian is the sixth with
3.9%, Jocelle Batapa-Sigue comes next with 3.7%, Carl Lopez follows with
3.6 %, Ed Guillem at ninth place with 3.4%, Wilson Gamboa Jr. follows with
3.2%, Miguel Estrella at 11th with 3%, while Alex Paglumotan and Elmer Sy
ties on the 12th spot with 2.9%.
52 = 34.7%
84 = 56%
14 = 9.3%
Most of the respondents did not
use the information posted by
the congressional candidates in
Facebook as a basis for their
voting decisions, reflected by
56%, whereas only 34.7% of the
respondents used the
information. Even if Golez
topped the Facebook campaigns,
Bing Leonardia won as the city
54 = 36%
79 = 52.7%
17 = 11.3%
52.7% of the respondents did
not use the information posted
by the mayoral candidates as a
basis for their decisions, only
36% did. However, Puentevella
topping the mayoral candidate
who posted in Facebook still
won as the city Mayor.
51 = 34%
84 = 56%
15 = 10%
Also, in vice-mayoral candidates, 56% of the respondents
did not use the information and only 34% did. Greg Gasataya won
the position as the city Vice- Mayor, and he also topped the
candidates who posted their campaigns in Facebook.
55 = 36.7%
82 = 54.7%
13 = 8.7%
56.7% of the respondents also
didn’t use the information
posted by the candidates
running for city councilors, only
36.7% did. However, among
the top 12 candidates who
posted their campaigns in
Facebook according to the
survey, 9 of them actually won
as city councilors.
The survey shows that most of the political candidates last
May 2013 local elections used Facebook as a part of their political
campaign, as this is supported by Silverman, (2010); “With social
media’s popularity, it has been tapped by the aspiring politicians as a
part of their political campaigns. It is because online campaigning
provides a much easier, cheaper and faster way of reaching to the
target voters. Thus, it can be considered a shortcut from traditional
campaigning (Lardizabal, 2013).”
However, tapping Facebook for political campaigning wouldn’t
secure success. Social media may be an interactive venue for political
campaigning, but the truth is, aspiring politicians are never really
online to answer their supporters’ queries. They just host live Q & As’
from the social media sites (Jerpi, 2013).
Thus, the results show that the respondents were able to
know more about the political candidates through Facebook, however
they didn’t directly base their voting decision from it.
SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS,
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Summary of Findings
Research shows that respondents who were mostly
19-year olds took about 50% of the overall population of
the first-time voters. 40.5% of the respondents access
Facebook through Wi-Fi. Furthermore, study shows that
42.3% uses Facebook on a limit of 1 to 3 hours a day. In a
weekly Facebook usage, the research shows that most
respondents access Facebook 3 to 5 days a week,
presented by 41.8%. Most respondents are avid Facebook
users, presented by 62.9% who answered that they use
Facebook 2 to 4 weeks every month, followed by 33.3%
who only use Facebook 1 to 2 weeks a month.
Regarding the campaign contents, 115 out of 150
respondents saw photos in Facebook, campaign posters
were much visible, comprising of 58.2% while 64 of the
respondents or 41.8% have seen photos of the candidates’
political activities. 88 respondents have seen video
campaigns, wherein 36.7% are composed of negative jingles
aimed at the candidates’ rivals, 33.3% are positive jingles
and 30% of these videos are advocacies. 90 respondents
have seen text posts of the politicians, 39.3% have seen
political platforms, 32.1% Facebook statuses, and 28.8%
political campaign schedule of the candidates.
Anthony Golez topped the Congressional candidates who
posted their political campaigns in Facebook with 42.6%, closely being
followed by Bing Leonardia, the congressional-elect with 38.5%.
Lyndon Caña comes third with a small percentage of 13.6%, while Ely
Palma comes fourth with just 5.3%.
For the Mayoral position, Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella
wins over Sayson with 65.6% while Sayson only got 34.4%.
Greg Gasataya topped the Vice-Mayoral position with 42%,
closest to him is Vladimir Gonzales with 36%. Quite afar from the first
two, Renecito Novero comes third with only 15.33% and Johram Alama
with 6.7 %. Greg Gasataya won the Vice-Mayoral position, so it could
be implied that he did well with his political campaigns, also reflected
in his Facebook visibility.
For the position of city councilors, Bobby Rojas tops the
list with 6.1%, Em Ang comes next with 5.6%, followed by Kalaw
Puentevella’s 5.3%, Ceasar Distrito comes fourth with 4.7%,
Israel Salanga comes fifth with 4%, El Cid Familiarian is the sixth
with 3.9%, Jocelle Batapa-Sigue comes next with 3.7%, Carl
Lopez follows with 3.6 %, Ed Guillem at ninth place with 3.4%,
Wilson Gamboa Jr. follows with 3.2%, Miguel Estrella at 11th
with 3%, while Alex Paglumotan and Elmer Sy ties on the 12th
spot with 2.9%.
The survey showed that in the four local positions
available during the May 2013 midterm elections (Congressional,
Mayoral, Vice-Mayoral and City Council), most of the
respondents didn’t use the information posted by the candidates
as a basis for their voting decision.
Even if Golez topped the Facebook campaigns, Bing
Leonardia won as the city congressman. Puentevella topping the
mayoral candidate who posted in Facebook still won as the city
Mayor. Greg Gasataya won the position as the city Vice- Mayor,
and he also topped the candidates who posted their campaigns
in Facebook. Among the top 12 candidates who posted their
campaigns in Facebook according to the survey, 9 of them
actually won as city councilors.
Facebook is a powerful media to bring the campaign of
the hopeful candidates online and persuade the voters to vote
for them. Facebook campaigns did add up to the retention of the
minds of the voters. However, Facebook didn’t influence the
decision making of the first-time voters rather; Facebook only
boosted the visibility and familiarity of the hopeful politicians to
the first-time voters.
The researchers recommend the following:
To the students of USLS, you are greatly exposed to
different kinds of media, be careful and be keen to know
and stand firm for your decision.
To the hopeful candidates, Facebook is a powerful
media which can make you save a fair amount of money so
use it responsibly and adapt to the fast changing media
practices in the recent times.
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