Donald Trump previews ‘Trump TV’ on Facebook, covering debate without ‘biased, mainstream media reporting’

The Facebook Live broadcast received as many as 200,000 concurrent viewers its peak, and was structured like a full TV channel

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The Independent Tech

While everyone was watching the debate, Donald Trump might have given a clue of his secret plan for after the debate.

Just as the debate was beginning, Mr Trump sent out a message telling people to watch his Facebook Live broadcast of it. That attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers – and might be a hint of Mr Trump’s plans for after the election.

The live broadcast included pundits and borrowed the look of established TV stations. As such, it looks remarkably like the much rumoured Trump TV – the candidate’s suggested media network that could be launched after the debate and serve as a way of capitalising on his huge audience.

The broadcast looked to emphasise the same kind of criticisms that are being made by Trump of the mainstream media, and which the TV station is likely to encourage. “If you’re tired of biased, mainstream media reporting (otherwise known as Crooked Hillary’s super PAC), tune into my Facebook Live broadcast,” Mr Trump wrote on his page.

At its peak, 200,000 people were watching the coverage. It sat at around 170,000 for most of the debate – making it the second most popular Facebook live stream of the debate, after only ABC News.

As of the morning after the debate, the views are quickly approaching nine million in total.

The stream isn’t the first time that Mr Trump has used Facebook’s relatively new livestreaming feature to broadcast debate coverage. But it is the first time it has been used for original content and that it has been dressed up in the same kind of look as network television.

Videos from the event were posted to Mr Trump’s YouTube channel under the name #TrumpTV – potentially suggesting that the leaked name of the station might be right, or perhaps a dig at the various people who have rumoured that he would launch it.

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Trump TV may never actually move off Facebook – the company has been working hard to encourage broadcasters to use it as a destination, rather than traditional TV programming. Staying on the social network would be much cheaper than assembling all of the infrastructure required to broadcast television, and might also allow it to hire people it wouldn’t ordinarily be able to hire.

The Trump campaign hasn’t publicly commented on the TV rumours. But the CEO of his campaign efforts, Steve Bannon – who until recently was head of the right-wing media network Breitbart - said only that “Trump is an entrepreneur”.