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ABC to live-stream presidential debates, viewer reactions on Facebook

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ABC/ Ida Mae Astute
ABC is partnering with Facebook to live-stream its coverage of the 2016 general election debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on the social network.

Aside from the main attraction, each debate day will see ABC News take to Facebook Live to host content from the debate host cities, inside the spin room, and from watch parties across the country. The network’s anchors and correspondents will also provide commentary form its headquarters in New York.

ABC News promises to take advantage of the interactive experience that is integral to Facebook Live by incorporating the digital audience’s comments and questions in its coverage.

“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, vice president of digital at ABC News.

ABC’s Facebook Live streams of each debate will kick off with its original series Strait Talk at 7 p.m. ET hosted by Matthew Dowd and LZ Granderson. Other contributors will include Nightline co-anchor Dan Harris, digital host Amna Nawaz, who (alongside Granderson) will be present throughout the course of the evening’s proceedings.

“With their robust Facebook Live coverage plans and deep bench of political journalists, ABC News will help facilitate an open dialogue among voters and create an engaging and immersive experience from each debate,” said Andy Mitchell, director of news and global media partnerships, Facebook.

The first presidential debate will take place on Monday September 26, 9 p.m. ET, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, and will be moderated by NBC’s Lester Holt. The second debate is scheduled for October 9, 9 p.m. ET, at Washington University in St. Louis, and will be moderated by ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper. The third and final debate will take place on October 19, 9 p.m. ET, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and will be moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace. A vice presidential debate is set for October 4, 9 p.m. ET, at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

TV networks and media organizations have utilized social platforms throughout this election cycle. In July, the likes of the Washington Post, HBO, and ABC used Twitter’s Periscope, YouTube, and Facebook respectively as an extension of their coverage. ABC claims that its previous partnership with Facebook during the national conventions gained 28 million video views across its official pages on the social network.

Correction: The original article incorrectly listed Lester Holt as an ABC correspondent. It has been corrected.

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