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Facebook to partner with network for debate broadcasts

Facebook to partner with network for debate broadcasts
© Greg Nash

Facebook will partner with ABC News for coverage of this fall's presidential debates, expanding the company’s involvement in the upcoming clashes between the Republican and Democratic candidates.

ABC News will use Facebook Live, its streaming platform, to broadcast the debates. ABC analysts will also host a pre-show on the social network.

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“As we move further into the election cycle, there continues to be a voracious appetite for live content, and we know many users turn to Facebook to engage and participate in the conversation,” said Colby Smith, an executive at ABC News.

ABC News said its work with Facebook helped to generate 28 million video views during the parties' national conventions over the summer. A user only has to watch a live video on Facebook for a few seconds before it is counted as a view.

The partnership is Facebook’s latest move to get involved with the 2016 elections. It has offered to work with the moderators of the second presidential debate, a town-hall-style event with Republican Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden's '60 Minutes' interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought '9/11 attack was 7/11 attack' MORE and Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHarris lists out 'racist' actions by Trump in '60 minutes' interview: 'It all speaks for itself' Trump has list of top intelligence officials he'll fire if he wins reelection: report Clinton says most Republicans want to see Trump gone but can't say it publicly: report MORE, to help them gather questions for the candidates ahead of the broadcast.

The company will also have a physical presence at the debates, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

In Washington, Facebook is pressing its case on a range of policy matters. The California-based firm has spent more than $4 million on federal lobbying this year.

Like many digital platforms, Facebook has also been looking to capture a portion of the money being spent this year on online political ads.