President Donald Trump will announce his nominee to fill a vacant justice seat on the US Supreme Court via Facebook Live tonight.
The president revealed his streaming plans on – where else – Twitter earlier on Tuesday. The broadcast takes place at 5pm PT/8pm ET/1am GMT on the White House Facebook page.
We asked Facebook for comment on Trump's stream, including how the social network views this as part of Live's role in the political process and whether it will offer any special support for the broadcast. A Facebook spokesperson got back to us with the following statement:
"We are available to provide advice and best practices to the White House, as we do for many elected officials. We are not providing any technical assistance or staff for tonight’s Facebook Live broadcast."
Trump's announcement is unusual for several reasons. For one, it takes place during prime time TV viewing hours, turning the monumental decision into something of a reality show.
Trump has kept his list of candidates a secret, though the two front-runners are considered to be Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman. Upping the reality show feel, the judges are apparently in Washington D.C. in anticipation of the announcement, according to Variety. One will leave with the nomination, the other with nothing.
Though the event will also air on traditional TV networks – broadcasters will interrupt regularly scheduled programming to deliver it – with Facebook Live, Trump can still circumvent the media, delivering his message straight to viewers.
The Trump administration's relationship with the media has become increasingly contentious during his first week-plus in office, so it's not surprising for Trump to use a more direct avenue to deliver his decision.
Facebook has made a greater push into video in recent years, particularly when it comes to Live (you may have seen the commercials). Live was used extensively during the US presidential election by candidates to connect with constituents, and it appears President Trump has no plans to stop using the service.
While Facebook has paid celebrities and other publishers for Live content in the past, a Facebook spokesperson tells Recode, "There are no incentives or Live partnerships with the President or the White House."