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Facebook and CNN to make US political coverage an interactive social experience

International news outfit CNN is partnering with Facebook to offer an interactive and “uniquely social experience” for CNN’s on-air, mobile and online audiences and Facebook users this US election period.

Through this partnership, Facebook and CNN say they hope to “amplify the voices” of social media users as they share their opinions on candidates and topical issues facing the country ahead of Election Day.

The duo claims that it will achieve this through an “innovative multi-platform ” that includes:

“I’m Voting” Facebook App

“Facebook and CNN will launch an interactive, engaging “I’m Voting” Facebook application. The app will enable people who use Facebook to commit to voting and endorse specific candidates and issues. Commitments to vote will be displayed on people’s Facebook timeline, news feed, and real-time ticker,” says a statement from Facebook.

According to the social media giant, the app will be available in English and Spanish and it will enable people to “share their commitment to vote and support of particular issues or candidates with friends.” It will also provide a way to track which of their friends have pledged to support those issues or candidates. These commitments will be visually displayed by US state on an interactive map.

“The app will serve as a ‘second screen’ for CNN’s America’s Choice 2012 political coverage. Via on-air, online and mobile segments, CNN personalities will use the app to ask Facebook users the most important questions driving the national dialogue and report on their answers,” says Facebook.

Measuring Facebook Buzz

The partnership will allow the two companies to measure metrics about the candidates — President Obama, Vice President Biden, Mitt Romney, and the Republican vice presidential candidate as soon as the running mate has been named. Facebook will also report the aggregate amount of discussion surrounding each candidate and CNN will drill down on specific state-by-state analysis.

Facebook Surveys

Voting-age users will be in key US locations and demographics around the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, Presidential Debates, Election Day and other significant dates on the political calendar. CNN’s editorial department will work with Facebook’s research team to write the questions and publish the results on CNN, CNN.com, and on the U.S. Politics on Facebook page, Facebook’s hub for campaign 2012 information.

“We fundamentally changed the way people consume live event coverage, setting a record for the most-watched live video event in Internet history, when we teamed up with Facebook for the 2009 Inauguration of President Obama,” said KC Estenson, SVP CNN Digital. “By again harnessing the power of the Facebook platform and coupling it with the best of our journalism, we will redefine how people engage in the democratic process and advance the way a news organisation covers a national election.”

“This partnership doubles down on CNN’s mission to provide the most engaging coverage of the 2012 election season,” said Sam Feist, CNN Washington bureau chief. “CNN’s unparalleled political reporting combined with Facebook’s social connectivity will empower more American voters in this critical election season.”

Each campaign cycle brings new technologies that enhance the way that important connections between citizens and their elected representatives are made. Though the mediums have changed, the critical linkages between candidates and voters­ remain,” said Joel Kaplan, Facebook Vice President-U.S. Public Policy. “Innovations like Facebook can help transform this informational experience into a social one for the American people.”

“By allowing citizens to connect in an authentic and meaningful way with presidential candidates and discuss critical issues facing the country, we hope more voters than ever will get involved with issues that matter most to them,” said Joe Lockhart, Facebook Vice President Corporate Communications. “Facebook is pleased to partner with CNN on this uniquely participatory experience.”

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