snapchat GOP debate
Presidential contenders have taken a liking to using the disappearing-photo and -video app Snapchat on the campaign trial. On Thursday, the app will create a "Live Story" public feed for the GOP primary debate. Pictured: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush snaps a selfie during a town hall meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, April 28, 2015. Reuters/Alvin Baez

Hoping for a behind-the-scenes view of the first televised Republican debate of the 2016 presidential race? Look no further than your smartphone.

Snapchat will be curating photos and videos -- before, during and after the debate -- and stitching them into a “Live Story” to launch on the app Thursday evening that will be visible to U.S. users, a Snapchat representative confirmed to International Business Times. The live feed also will have ad spots. Thursday’s televised event, hosted by Fox News, Facebook, and the Ohio Republican Party, will begin at 9 p.m. EDT on the Fox News Channel, with pre-coverage to begin at 5 p.m. EDT. The event will be held at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

Fox will select 10 candidates -- those who have polled the best in an average of the most recent five polls -- to participate in the debate, according to the event’s rules. Currently, businessman Donald Trump and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are polling the highest, followed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

Live Story feeds have traditionally been curated jointly by the Snapchat team and the event affiliates. In Snapchat’s content management system, certain participating attendees’ Snapchat accounts can be flagged, so employees can identify important moments to include. The rest of the feed can be supplied from participants, based on the editorial judgment of Snapchat’s team.

Not all Republican Party candidates currently have Snapchat accounts, however. For example, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and current Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal have yet to get on the network. But others, including Bush, Paul and Rubio, have consistently used the app -- even pouring ad dollars into the social network. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Bush both used Snapchat to preview their campaign launches. Last week, Paul ran a targeted ad campaign.

Snapchat has already launched some politically focused Live Stories, including one in Iowa in June. Bush's campaign announcement was also a featured public feed -- not created from his own account but rather snapped by attendees and organized by Snapchat.

Live Stories on Snapchat, a feature that premiered at the Electric Daisy Festival in June 2014, has since become one of the most popular features of the app. Snapchat boasts more than 3 billion video views and the app claims to have more than 100 million active users, with 84 percent of them between ages 18 and 34.