Twitter is continuing its push into live events and TV with the announcement it will be live-streaming the US presidential debates. As with the company's streams of NFL football games, the live video will be shown alongside curated tweets, and will be available on various Twitter apps (including Apple TV) and on the web at debates.twitter.com.
The first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will take place this coming Monday, September the 26th, with the vice presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence on October 4th, and then the second and third presidential debates on October 9th and October 19th. The streams are part of Twitter's partnership with Bloomberg Television, and will be preceded and followed by analysis from members of the Bloomberg Politics team.
Twitter has managed to block nasty tweets in streams, but can it stomach the debates?
Early appraisals of Twitter's live-streaming experience have been mostly positive. Watching the NFL streams earlier this month, our colleagues over at Recode found that the content was easy to jump into, and that Twitter's combination of human and machine curation did a good job keeping out inappropriate or abusive tweets. (This is almost certainly going to be a tougher job when it comes to the debates though.)
There was one glaring problem: Twitter's stream was slow. Viewers noted that the app's video was as much as a minute behind the TV broadcasts, meaning that tweets from people who weren't watching the game on Twitter's own app often spoiled the action for people who were. That's not a bad tradeoff for Twitter users getting to watch the game for free, but it does undermine the premise of Twitter as the home of live events. If the company can fix these problems before the 26th, though, we should be in for a real show.