ABC News Reaches Out to Facebook Users

November 27th, 2007 - 4:14 am ICT by admin  

With 56 million users and a rapidly growing pool of new applications (including some controversial new ad services), the social-networking site Facebook is proving to be a compelling target for content producers on and offline. Now one news agency is betting that it can lure Facebook users away from the site’s movie quizzes, photo-sharing, and various types of virtual slap-and-tickle games.

The New York Times reported on Monday that ABC News is entering into a partnership with Facebook to provide the site’s subscribers with breaking news about the 2008 presidential campaign. According to the Times, the new partnership will enable Facebook users to follow ABC News reporters on the campaign trail and view video of their political coverage. The partnership will tap in to the social-networking capabilities of Facebook by running polls and surveys, and conducting debates.

Jeff Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, expressed concern over what type of information-sharing might take place between the two companies.

“Will Facebook provide Disney/ABC with the kind of personal information it is turning over to its advertisers (using the Beacon system, for example)?” Chester asked. “ABC and Facebook say no money is changing hands; yet if part of the deal involves user data and possible targeting (before or after the debate), the public needs to know.”

New Facebook Profile

The most visible evidence of the new partnership is on Facebook itself, where ABC News and Facebook have collaborated on their own profile page entitled “US Politics.” At the top of the profile page is a button for a “US Politics” application that adds a new section to the individual profile page of Facebook users.

The new section allows Facebook users to “browse politicians” that they support, as long as the politicians have set up a Facebook page. The entry for Hillary Clinton, for instance,…

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