Facebook Users to Put Political Views Up in Lights on Times Square

As the country prepares for this year’s presidential election, political devotees have been following the nuances of every debate, caucus, straw poll and primary. A new application for Facebook users, however, is intended to encourage those who are not as engaged to talk about the election issues that are most important to them.

The new app was created during a 24-hour “hackathon” this month with engineers from Facebook and representatives from the advertising agency R/GA, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, at Facebook’s Manhattan headquarters. The goal was to create a social application that could share users’ political views on digital billboards in Times Square.

“We’re at the intersection of social media and branded event advertising,” John Mayo-Smith, executive vice president and chief technology officer at R/GA , said to the group. R/GA has worked with Times Square2, which owns the Thomson Reutersand Nasdaq signs in Times Square, on other interactive projects for brands including VerizonNike and McCormick.

At Facebook headquarters, a group of about 20 broke into three smaller groups to brainstorm on how to create an app that brought together the billboards, Facebook and the election.

“Facts don’t spread. Emotions do spread,” said Paul Adams, a brand experience manager at Facebook, in a presentation before the group.

“We need to think about what an interaction looks like in that environment,” he said, referring to Times Square.

Read full article in the NY Times