More awareness from Internet users on Covid-19 during MCO

Number of positive mentions increase by some 982% after the implementation of MCO for chatter comparison

By SHAZNI ONG

MORE local online users are becoming aware of the Covid-19 pandemic and the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO), according to a study.

The study, conducted by Wisesight Malaysia on Malaysia Covid-19 MCO sentiment coverage, stated that more people turned to online for information, solutions and in a sense survival itself during the MCO which began on March 18.

Among the findings, the study revealed that the number of positive mentions increased after the implementation of MCO — 982% higher for chatter comparison with previous week.

“Netizen expresses hope to contain Covid-19 and gratitude towards the frontliners. (Meanwhile), the increase in negative mentions was low (1%) as the total negative mentions were already high in the previous week,” the study said.

The study also found that as the numbers of confirmed cases continue to increase, Internet users are most worried about the lack of medical facilities within the country.

“The spread of the virus remained as one of the top concerns among netizens through the first week of MCO. Netizens continue to share tips and guides on preventing the spread throughout the period.

“At the same time, netizens are also very alert towards the announcement and initiatives from the government that may impact them financially, economically and socially. Multiple businesses share their struggle to go through the difficult time,” it added.

Notwithstanding, the study also found that many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are switching to doing businesses online to sustain their businesses.

“Five percent of the netizens also expressed their worries towards the potential undiagnosed cases surrounding them,” said the study.

Other findings the study found is that around half of the messages related to MCO were generated from Selangor and Kuala Lumpur (46%), followed by Penang (9%).

“This shows that people from these two states have higher awareness about the MCO or Covid-19 and more outspoken online,” it said.

Wisesight founder and regional director Shakthi DC (picture) said the uptake of social media consumption, online news, delivery apps, online banking and e-wallets among others have been slowly increasing.

“What these industry players do to further leverage this and affect more positive changes in the weeks to come will be interesting to follow,” she said in a statement recently.

The study conducted by Wisesight covers events ranging from the MCO announcement to impact on businesses and the new lifestyle trends arising out of the situation.

Shakthi noted that the sudden change in lifestyle has seen a variety of implications on both individual and business levels.

“And that is why we decided to conduct this study — to understand the unfiltered thoughts, concerns and reactions of the people, as well as the implications on businesses and the nation after one week into the MCO.

“The ultimate goal being is to illustrate our true colours as a nation in times of duress, for learning as a government and as a people on how we get through this effectively,” she said.

Shakthi added that the study walks readers through the events that transpired each day and trends since March 15 — giving key insights into how Malaysian netizens were thinking and expressing, with social media consumption changes in terms of preferences.

“Social media data should be leveraged by the government and businesses alike to gain insights, to strategise communications that resonate and reach audiences better, uncover opportunities, identify discontentment or potential threats but ultimately ensure that decisions made by organisations are backed by people-centric data,” she said.