Presidential Aspirant Bongbong Marcos
By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Partido Reporma chairman and standard-bearer Panfilo “Ping”
Lacson turned out to have the most number of authentic followers on
microblogging site Twitter, according to a random bot analysis and
independent monitoring conducted by a Reddit user.
However, it also said that Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo
has the most organic followers than former Senator Ferdinand Marcos
Jr., but the majority of her (Robredo) followers are private accounts.
Using a sample size of 5,000 accounts out of the 44,155 Lacson
followers on his verified personal Twitter account (@iampinglacson),
the Reddit user under the codename ‘PancitLucban’ figured he has the
most organic following among four presidential aspirants.
PancitLucban applied free-to-use online digital tools to also analyze
the social media presence of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni”
Robredo, Manila Mayor Francsiso “Isko” Moreno Domagoso, and Senator
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. on the microblogging platform.
The selection process was randomized using SurveyMonkey and Tweepy to
pull and organize data from the Twitter application program interface.
Botometer, meanwhile, was the software program applied to weed out the
bots from the real accounts.
“Botometer uses Complete Automation Probability (CAP) to visualize and
analyze account behavior. To put it simply, this is the variable they
use to determine a ‘bot score,’” PancitLucban explained in his report.
In his analysis, the Reddit user set a 90-percent CAP, which yielded a
9.08-percent Twitter bot follower result for Lacson and 2.77-percent
if the CAP was set at 95-percent. This means a significant majority of
his followers are organic.
Marcos leads on Twitter followers
Results for the three other presidential aspirants were varied.
Robredo is on Twitter (@lenirobredo) with 628.3K followers, Moreno
(@IskoMoreno) with 934.4K followers, while Marcos, Jr.
(@bongbongmarcos) has 957.9K followers.
Of the three, Moreno has the most number of ‘sleeper’ followers or
bots, according to the analyst. He registered a 10.94-percent bot
score at 90-percent CAP and 23.88-percent of bots at 95-percent CAP.
As expected for Marcos, Jr. the bots working for him are “more
sophisticated” and are able to mimic ‘human-like’ behavior upon deeper
evaluation. He has a 17.56-percent bot score at 90-percent CAP and
7.47-percent at 95-percent CAP.
PancitLucban said Marcos, Jr. and Robredo are “almost equal” in terms
of having fake followers based on his assessment. The vice president,
however, has the most organic followers between the two but majority
of them are private accounts.
At least 11.75-percent of bots are following Robredo at 90-percent CAP
and 4.93-percent at 95-percent CAP, according to PancitLucban.
He noted that the sample sizes used to analyze the Twitter presence of
the four presidential aspirants are ‘very small’ and thus limited.
“Just to clarify, I just picked up the bot [analyses] from another
author and collated [them] as an informal narrative report of sorts.
Am hopeful that the effort by the author can birth other projects like
this,” PancitLucban told Partido Reporma in a private message.
“Everything used in the study is open source so there’s a lot of
potential. No funds needed, just effort by the right people,” the
Reddit user added. Twitter analytics for two other presidential
aspirants Senator Manny Pacquiao and labor leader Leody de Guzman are
not yet available.
Pacquiao has the most followers on Twitter among all presidential bets
at 2.6 million boosted by his worldwide celebrity status as a boxing
icon. De Guzman, meanwhile, has 19.4K followers although his account
is yet to be verified with the check mark symbol.