How the Facebook debate was different from the YouTube debates of 2008; the videos BuzzFeed makes for the GOP; and more.

  • Although co-hosted by Facebook, last night’s Republican debate was not easy to watch online last night unless you have a cable subscription, as Matt Novak outlined for Gizmodo. I, for example, briefly watched some guy on Meerkat watch the debate, holding up a whiteboard scorecard when one of the candidates scored a point.

  • Jennifer Stromer-Galley opines for Newsweek that the solicitation of audience participation in the debate via Facebook is “sham democracy”:

    Tonight, Facebook and Fox News will again let the public pose questions to the presidential hopefuls. As in the 2008 YouTube debates, the public can post a video question to the Fox News Facebook page. Unlike in 2008, if the public visits the page, they can’t view the questions submitted—they simply go into a black box.

  • Alex Howard tweeted that the integration with Facebook was “often awkwardly phrased.”

  • Last night, interest in Carly Fiorina, one of the Republicans left out of the mainstage debate, spiked, at least on Google search, surpassing Donald Trump.

  • BuzzFeed is producing slick and goofy videos for GOP presidential candidates, Brendan James reports for International Business Times. The question is, why? “But by producing videos with candidates,” James writes, “all of them hungry for access to the younger audience roaming the internet, is BuzzFeed blurring the line between covering politics and dabbling in them?”

  • Edward T. Walker comes out strongly against the “Uber-ization” of Activism in a opinion piece in the New York Times, arguing that Uber, among other companies, is “weaponizing their apps” for political gains. He concludes: 

    Technology may be neutral, but grass roots should mean bottom up, not top down. The #blacklivesmatter movement is a genuine grass-roots civil rights campaign, mobilized through social media. So is the environmentalist Bill McKibben’s, with its blend of online organizing, social media strategy and in-person campaigning around climate change. But Uber’s corporate populism is not. We should learn to recognize the difference.

  • At the digital inclusion summit held at Civic Hall on Wednesday, New York City City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the Mozilla Foundation announced a joint program to increase digital literacy and civic engagement through technology initiatives, reports Gloria Pazmino for Capital New York.

  • The headline says it all in this piece for Vice by Virgil Texas: “How I Infiltrated a White Pride Facebook Group and Turned It into ‘LGBT Southerners for Michelle Obama’”

  • Scott Burns, the CEO and co-founder of GovDelivery, gives an overview of the three major investments his company has made in civic tech projects this year. He writes that the key to working with government is to “think small” for “big impact.”