Networks draw on Facebook audience ahead of town-hall debate

Networks draw on Facebook audience ahead of town-hall debate

ABC News and CNN are both using Facebook to solicit feedback ahead of next weekend’s town-hall style presidential debate.

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHeller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 MORE and Donald J. Trump meet again this Sunday in a town hall moderated by ABC News’ Martha Raddatz and CNN's Anderson Cooper,” said ABC News on its Facebook page. What questions do you think the candidates should answer? Leave your ideas below, and click LIKE on your favorite ones.”

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CNN issued a similar message to people who follow its Facebook page.

Neither network responded immediately to an email asking them how the feedback from viewers would be processed.

But it comes at a time when the Commission on Presidential Debates, the organization that produces the quadrennial general election debates, is doing more to draw on the online public for question ideas.

Facebook has a formal partnership with the debate commission to assist the networks involved in the town-hall debate with outreach to the public on its popular platform, if they choose to ask for help. The moderators are under no obligation to ask the questions posed through Facebook.

Google and Facebook are also providing debate moderators with data ahead of the debates.

Raddatz and Cooper have also agreed to assess the top 30 queries on a platform that allows users to submit questions and others to vote on them.

"The commission was watching closely as the Open Debate Coalition tested out their innovative bottom-up question submission and voting platform in the primaries this year, and we were impressed with the results,” said the debate commission’s co-chair, Mike McCurry, in a statement.

“This year's presidential debate moderators will have a rich pool of voter-submitted questions they can draw on that carry greater weight because they are backed by votes from the American people."

The town-hall debate is the second of three for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE before election day. Their running mates will meet for their own debate on Tuesday.