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Facebook and Twitter Bring You Live Coverage of the Presidential Debates

You don't need cable to see the most highly anticipated matchup this side of a Conor McGregor fight.
September 26, 2016, 4:04pm
Donald Trump speaking at CPAC in 2013. Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Social media isn't what it used to be. Facebook once was a place to satisfy our need to know what our friends and family have been up to. Twitter was a place to catch up on trending news and snicker at stranger's remarks regarding whatever was on TV at the time.

While you can still use either for those purposes, in the last year, both platforms made the decision to become something bigger… not just a place to discuss and react to entertainment, but a place to actually view the entertainment. Twitter made a deal to stream Thursday Night Football (which seems to be doing very well for the company). Facebook streamed Manchester United vs. Everton.

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But it's not just sports that Facebook and Twitter are live streaming. With a particularly tumultuous election season well underway, both platforms have made deals to provide live political coverage, starting when both streamed the conventions.

And with just hours to go until tonight's first debate (it begins at 9pm ET), both Twitter and Facebook want to be your one-stop spot for all your political needs. Live streaming the debate action, complaining, making fun… whatever you like.

What sort of coverage will each offer?

With Facebook, two hours before each of this fall's debates begin, ABC News will begin streaming a segment known as "Straight Talk" with anchors Matthew Dowd and LZ Granderson. This will be followed by the live debate, and then coverage will conclude with post-debate analysis. According to ABC News, the network plans to also include coverage of footage in the post-debate media room, along with commentary from both anchors and correspondents.

Essentially, on Facebook, you'll receive the type of coverage that you would if you were watching ABC, with the exception that you have the entire world watching with you, responding to what you're all seeing in real time.

Meanwhile, Twitter's coverage comes at the hands of Bloomberg Politics. Like Facebook's coverage, Twitter will also air before and after debate coverage. Bloomberg will offer a 30-minute before and after segment that allows viewers to process the debate with commentary and analysis.

Of course, some might want to watch on their TVs, which wasn't an option before. However, Twitter put out an updated app on Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV that let's you live stream to your television. And the Bloomberg app, which is available for older Apple TV models as well as the new one with the full fledged App Store, will also carry the debates live. Although, some people really enjoy watching and interacting on the same screen.

"I like reading what people are saying during events like the debates," Tanner Callais, founder of travel tips website Cruzely.com, told Motherboard. "And having it on the same screen as the stream is nice. Especially when traveling."

However you plan on watching, social media is bringing you more free options than ever, continuing to beg the question, who needs cable anyway?

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