Facebook and CNN on Monday announced a wide-ranging
partnership in connection with the 2012 presidential election across TV, desktop and mobile screens. The centerpiece of the initiative is an “I’m Voting” app from the two companies
that allows users to commit to voting and endorse specific candidates and issues.
These choices will be displayed on people’s Facebook timeline, news feed and real-time ticker, and by U.S. state on an interactive map.
The idea is for users to see what candidates or issues friends are supporting, and how many of their own friends they have enlisted for their own
causes or candidates.
The app, which will be available in English and Spanish, will also serve as a “second screen” for CNN's America’s Choice 2012 political coverage. During on-air, online and mobile segments, CNN personalities will use the app to ask Facebook users key questions driving the national dialogue and report on their answers.
The companies will also take the pulse of voters by tracking buzz on Facebook and surveying users. As the campaigns progress, Facebook will report the aggregate amount of discussion around each candidate and their running mates, while CNN analyzes the findings on a state-by-state basis.
Facebook and CNN will survey voting-age users in key U.S. locations and demographics around the Democratic and Republican national conventions, presidential debates, Election Day and other big dates on the political calendar. CNN’s editorial department will also work with Facebook’s research team to write the questions and publish the results on CNN, CNN.com and Facebook’s U.S. Politics page, its hub 2012 election information.
“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,” stated Joe Lockhart, Facebook VP, corporate communications, and former White House Press Secretary.
Facebook has a history of teaming with CNN on political coverage, including their joint live broadcast of the 2009 inauguration of President Obama, which set a record for simultaneous streaming-video viewers. More recently the company has paired with media partners, including Politico and NBC News during the Republican primaries, and partnered with R/GA on a political polling app “2012 Matters: What Matters Most.”
Whether the new Facebook partnership can boost CNN’s dismal ratings is another question. The network’s ratings in the second quarter reached a 21-year low, dropping 35% among total viewers and 41% in the prized 25-54 age demographic compared to a year ago.