Obama to appear in live video feed from Facebook headquarters
Facebook Town Hall event to be broadcast on Facebook and WhiteHouse.gov
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Apr 20, 2011
President Barack Obama will hold a question-and-answer session on the budget deficit today at Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters that will be streamed live on the Internet on the Facebook website. The event starts at 4:45 p.m. Eastern time.
The president will field questions submitted in advance on Facebook and at the WhiteHouse.gov website. The event also will be broadcast at the government website.
Political news analysts say the visit is likely to showcase Obama's high-tech savvy and the growing importance of social media networks such as Facebook, where Obama’s personal page has 19 million fans. One of the Obama campaigns first hires was Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook, who left the social network to generate the digital campaign for Obama in 2008.
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“President Obama’s visit to the Palo Alto headquarters of Facebook Wednesday afternoon is just the latest chapter in a long commingling between the social media behemoth and a politician whose candidacy thrived thanks in part to its growing reach,” Michael Memoli, political writer for the Los Angeles Times, wrote in an article
At the same time, Obama’s decision "comes at a sensitive time" for Facebook as it is criticized for its privacy policies and sharing of user information, wrote Cecelia Kang, a blogger for the Washington Post, in an article today.
If Facebook continues to get into trouble with consumers, there could be negative fallout for Obama if he is perceived as being too close to the company, as some observers have noted. “Are Barack Obama, Facebook getting too friendly?” Michelle Quinn asked April 19 in an article for Politico.
In related news, last month it was reported widely that Facebook was in talks with Robert Gibbs, former press secretary for the White House, as a prospective hire for the network's D.C. office. However, those talks have not gone well and the Gibbs hiring is looking unlikely, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal on April 19.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.