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KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 — A survey by market research firm Vase.ai found the majority of Malaysians still looked to Facebook as their primary source of information on Covid-19, although consumption dropped after the movement control order was enforced.
The Ministry of Health’s official website came in second as consumption increased slightly, the survey found.
The survey polled over 1,000 Malaysians from various demographics on several issues related to the coronavirus outbreak, with the aim of tracking how the population coped with the movement curbs enforced to mitigate the spread of Sars-CoV-2.
One of it was an assessment on media consumption throughout the three-phases of the MCO that started March 18. Each phase consisted of two weeks.
“Online sources which Malaysians have been using to stay updated on Covid-19 developments are Facebook, MoH's website, and official local online news sites,” the firm said in its summary of the survey.
From the 1,100 respondents polled, 70 per cent voted Facebook as the preferred platform for information as they tried to stay informed about the pandemic. MoH’s official website came second at 60 per cent.
Yet, Facebook consumption during this period was lower than at pre-MCO level, dropping 13 percentage points.
Correspondingly, more Malaysians turned to MoH’s website for Covid-19 news, suggesting increased distrust of other platforms. The number of respondents that looked to the ministry’s official webpage rose by 6 percentage points.
Meanwhile, only 38 per cent of respondents said they looked to formal news outlets for information, a three percentage point dip from pre-outbreak level.
There is a likelihood, however, that consumers had still accessed news from these organisations via secondary platforms like Facebook.
Vase.ai did not explain if this slight dip indicated consumer wariness of the press.
Content shared through the messaging app WhatsApp, a source for over 60 per cent of respondents before the MCO, also saw consumption dropped by half.
By the third MCO phase, Vase.ai’s survey found only 33 per cent of respondents trusted WhatsApp for Covid-19 related information.
The survey’s findings suggest public attention was mostly set on the government’s response to the pandemic, as consumers spent most of their time throughout the six week partial lockdown browsing social media and watching the news.
Vase.ai said its survey showed 73 per cent of respondents were glued to various social media platforms while close to two-thirds spent monitoring the news. Over half also said they spend most of their time watching entertainment content.
Still, the MCO had also prompted many to learn new skills like baking and cooking.
The Vase.ai survey showed 59 per cent saw the movement restrictions as an opportunity to start baking or baking, a finding that corroborates Malay Mail’s April 26 report.
Meanwhile, the survey found only 40 per cent of respondents tried to keep a healthy lifestyle by exercising indoors.
The MoH had encouraged Malaysians to try and exercise more even as it prevented people from exercising outdoors, since physical training helps boost immunity.