Facebook has confirmed its participation in both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, which are scheduled for this July.
The promise comes despite the fact that Donald Trump and his campaign — which Mark Zuckerberg has lobbed thinly veiled shots at before — will be front and centre at the RNC.
“This support allows Facebook to facilitate an open dialogue among voters, candidates, and elected officials during the conventions, just as it has during other critical moments in the US elections and in elections around the world,” Erin Egan, Facebook’s vice president of US public policy told Politico.
Facebook added that it would offer up “financial and other support” for both conventions. At the RNC, it will host something called the “Facebook Lounge”, which is designed to “showcase election-related activity happening on our platform”.
It might be a touch awkward. Last month, Zuck spent a large chunk of his F8 keynote address denouncing polices key to Trump’s campaign but never mentioned The Donald by name.
“I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as ‘others.’ I hear them calling for blocking free expression, for slowing immigration, for reducing trade, and in some cases even for cutting access to the internet,” Zuckerberg said at the time.
As Gizmodo’s Michael Nunez reported, employees at Facebook had also asked Zuckerberg in an internal poll if the company should try to stop a Trump presidency. Facebook never said if Zuckerberg answered the question but said it would never “use our products in a way that attempts to influence how people vote”.
Facebook isn’t the only tech giant participating in the conventions, of course. Twitter also confirmed its participation yesterday, though a spokesperson told the Hill the company hadn’t yet figured out exactly what form that would take. Elsewhere, Google has drawn the ire of anti-Trump protesters for its sponsorship of the RNC.
Egan told Politico that Facebook wouldn’t be “endorsing any one candidate, issue, or political party”. [Politico]