OMG! STV to host Facebook referendum debate!

Posted on 12/09/2014 by


Social media’s the latest referendum battleground 


STV will host the first and only official Facebook independence referendum debate between the Yes Scotland and Better Together campaigns tonight.

Scotland Decides: The Facebook Debate will see the SNP’s Humza Yousaf MSP and Labour’s Douglas Alexander MP putting their arguments to Scotland’s voters – as many as 10% of whom may still be undecided.

The debate, which will air on STV Glasgow and be available on Facebook at 9pm and then repeated at 11.40pm on STV.

Facebook users will be invited to pose questions to the two politicians in advance of the debate on the STV News Facebook page and on Facebook’s Democracy UK page.

Questions will then be posed to Mr Yousaf and Mr Alexander on Friday throughout the course of the 30-minute session. As the debate unfolds on TV, people will be able to see the action in real-time on Facebook whilst continuing to share their thoughts and engage after the event.

Elizabeth Linder, Facebook’s politics & government specialist for the Europe, Middle East & Africa region said: “Millions of people from all walks of life in Scotland have joined the referendum debate on Facebook. Whether it’s candidates making their pitch, voters discussing the issues they care about, or friends persuading each other to go and vote – it’s all taking place on Facebook.

“As we enter the final week of the campaign and the polls start to narrow, referendum discussion on Facebook is really heating up. People in Scotland are turning to Facebook to get their questions answered before making their decision on September 18. We hope that the live Facebook debate on Friday will answer some of these questions to help undecided voters reach a decision.”

Bobby Hain, director of channels at STV, said: “STV has played its role at the heart of the referendum debate on air and online and this partnership with Facebook serves as a further great opportunity to engage and inform our viewers on multiple platforms.”

The live debate, which will be moderated by Rona Dougall, presenter of STV’s current affairs programme Scotland Tonight, will be filmed at STV Glasgow’s studio and promises to offer a different dynamic to previous debates, with a format which will see both representatives have more of a fast paced and to the point question and answer session

The debate follows a Facebook campaign, launched last month in partnership with the Electoral Commission, to encourage people to register to vote. People over the age of 16 using Facebook in Scotland can add a “Registered to Vote” Facebook “Life Event” to their Timeline, to announce that they have registered and plan to vote in the Scottish Referendum next week. In the run-up to the close of registration, people in Scotland were also shown posts in their Newsfeed raising awareness of an interactive Referendum guide, launched by the Commission to inform voters on how and where to vote.

STV Glasgow is available in Glasgow and the west on Freeview #23, Sky #117 and Virgin #159 and streamed live online on the STV Player