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Facebook Venturing into Politics Coverage




There has been some backlash against Facebook’s recently unveiled Social Ads during the first three weeks of its run, but Facebook is pushing ahead with its own agenda. Today, they announced a partnership with ABC News to bring political coverage to Facebook. As Facebook’s first partnership with a news organization, the deal could change the way that Facebook users think about politics.

Now, just providing political news wouldn’t be enough to make an impact, so Facebook and ABC News will be jointly sponsoring Democratic and Republican debates in New Hampshire. The debates are scheduled for January 5, three days before the state’s primary.

The New York Times covers the deal, noting that ABC News reporters have already been using Facebook as a way to communicate with their readers:

The collaboration between ABC News and Facebook started quietly several weeks ago, with personal pages of network reporters like Rick Klein, the author of ABC’s widely read political newsletter The Note, and Sunlen Miller, who has been covering Barack Obama.

Encouraging users to interact with reporters is a significant step for a news organization like ABC News. Until recently, a viewer wanting to respond to Mr. Klein’s daily essay could only write a comment or send an e-mail message to a generic address. Now, they can send private messages directly to reporters or can post them on the reporters’ public Facebook pages. For now, while the number of comments remains relatively small, reporters engage in dialogues with viewers.

So, how much did this sweet deal bring in, and for what party? The answer may surprise you:

[President of ABC News Dan] Westin and [Facebook’s Vice President for Business Development Dan] Rose said that no money changed hands in the deal. For ABC News, the collaboration puts political content on a site with 56 million active users. For Facebook, it adds an authoritative source and fresh content for the site’s political section.

What do you think: is this deal the future of politics—or just online content partnerships?