Tech companies are hooking Republicans up in Cleveland.
The logos of some of the biggest names in tech can be seen all over the Republican National Convention this week, despite pushback from progressive organizations to drop involvement in the event headlined by presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Facebook (FB) has built up its own shop outside the Quicken Loans Arena. Facebook Live is a major component of its activities -- inside the Facebook hub, a screen displays videos being streamed in real time, and an area has been reserved for news outlets to do their own Facebook Live shoots. Outside the hub, a giant screen streams the speeches taking place inside the arena. Facebook's Instagram is also on display, with an Oval Office replica set aside for a photo op.
"We wanted to find a way so that we could help the people who are here on the ground -- the delegates, the media, the policymakers -- know how to go live on Facebook, how to be sharing their experiences with people back home, but then also helping to think through how can we make sure those who aren't here in Cleveland are being able to watch it," said Katie Harbath, global politics and government outreach director at Facebook.
ABC News has teamed up with Facebook to do 24-hour live coverage of the RNC, and delegates and reporters are going live on Facebook on the convention floor and all over Cleveland.
The social media company, which will also have a hub at next week's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, has already seen an enormous amount of activity surrounding politics this year. Since Jan. 1, it has seen over 89 million people having over 2.9 billion interactions related to politics in the U.S. alone. From June 16 to July 16, the most popular topics of conversation on Facebook were crime, government ethics, homeland security, guns and religion.
Facebook has had its fair share of run-ins with the GOP this election cycle. CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued a thinly veiled critique of Trump at Facebook's F8 developer conference earlier this year, and in the spring, a report that the company was censoring conservative content in its trending topics section had Republicans up in arms.
According to Harbath, it's all water under the bridge. "We've heard nothing but positive feedback," she said, noting that Facebook has been working with the Republicans planning the convention for two years -- long before Trump started running, or concerns about censorship emerged.
Facebook isn't the only tech company hitting the convention hard. Twitter (TWTR) has a strong presence both inside and outside the arena. Microsoft (MSFT) has set up a booth for attendees to chat with delegates, politicians and speakers via Skype. Wednesday afternoon, Iowa congressman Steve King talked with one man about his favorite restaurants. Ambassador John Bolton and golfer Natalie Gulbis have also taken part.
AT&T (T) , the official communications, video and technology provider for the RNC, has phone charging booths set up throughout the arena and is selling GOP-themed digital swag.
One name not present: Apple (AAPL) , which decided to sit the convention out over Trump's involvement. But among conference attendees, there's no hard feelings toward the iPhone maker, even with its absence and with Trump's calls for a boycott of it on the campaign trail.
"It really doesn't matter to me," said Charles Bruckerhoff, a delegate from Connecticut who has campaigned for Trump in New Hampshire, Wisconsin and other states. He also noted that Apple isn't entirely absent from the convention. "Their computers are here," he chuckled, nodding to the laptop in my bag.
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