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Friending Voters: RNC Launches Facebook App

Hemera/Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The GOP has officially entered the world of “likes” and statuses.

The Republican National Committee on Tuesday unveiled a new Facebook application, which party staffers say will augment or replace traditional organizing elements and shoot the RNC ahead of Democrats in social-media presence. Dubbed the “Social Victory Center,” after the RNC’s “Victory Center” field offices in battleground states, the app functions as a mini-site within Facebook, where users see news items and party materials, including Web ads curated by RNC staff.

It works like social readers that have been adopted by media outlets to spread their content on the Web: when a user reads an article or signs up for an event, the RNC’s app will broadcast that activity to the user’s Facebook followers.

“The DNC and Obama’s campaign haven’t really integrated in to social with an app like this on Facebook,” said Andrew Abdel-Malik of the RNC’s political department, at a roll-out briefing with reporters on Tuesday. “We’re constantly amplifying lots of activity.”

RNC Political Director Rick Wiley touted the ability to share news, information, and announcements across state lines. “You might have someone sitting in New York City, but they have relatives in Nevada,” he said. “All of a sudden their relatives know that early voting just went live in Clark County.”

To go with its new app, the RNC says it will deploy new-media directors to each battleground state, in part to fill the app’s state-specific pages with new content – a first for the RNC, according to Wiley.

Since 2004, Republicans have lagged behind Democrats in Internet savvy. Online organizing and donation were considered a strength for Obama’s 2008 campaign, and Howard Dean’s 2004 Democratic primary run is largely credited with pushing campaigns into the Internet era.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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