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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Apple will co-host its first-ever political debate Friday in an effort to show off its growing investment in news.

Why it matters: Apple's role in tonight's Democratic debate in New Hampshire comes as two of the biggest tech giants, Facebook and Google, are noticeably absent from the debates this season.

  • The debate will feature deep integrations with Apple's news product, which bills itself as a more curated, editorially-focused news experience than that which exists on other big tech platforms.

Details: The tech giant is co-hosting the debate alongside ABC and New Hampshire's WMUR-TV.

  • Unlike those outlets, Apple will not have a moderator featured in the debate to question candidates, and it will not be providing any editorial guidance or questions to the moderators.
  • Instead, it will solicit questions from users through its news app. The company began collecting questions earlier this week.
  • Apple has also built several special features to highlight coverage of the presidential election, including real-time election results data from the Associated Press, policy resource guides for readers, a guide to each presidential candidate, and a news literacy guide to help readers identify misinformation online.
  • Apple will provide state and national polling data, infographics and analysis through a partnership with ABC-owned political blog FiveThirtyEight. ABC News' coverage of the debate will be livestreamed on Apple News and will also be available to be live-streamed directly on the Apple TV app.

The big picture: As we've reported, tech companies have increasingly been participating as co-hosts or sponsors of political debates. Both the RNC and the DNC decided to cut back on the number of debates beginning in 2016.

Expand chart
Data: Axios research; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Flashback: YouTube and Facebook first partnered with TV networks for debates during the 2008 presidential cycle. MySpace partnered with the Commission on Presidential Debates in 2008 on a series of interactive features for the debates that allowed users to review candidates online while watching the debates.

Be smart: Tech partnerships can sometimes help bring voters closer to the debate, by giving them a chance to ask questions or register reactions in real-time.

What's next: The next debate that will feature a tech company as a co-host will be on Feb. 25, when CBS News co-hosts the 10th Democratic debate with the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and in partnership with Twitter in Charleston, South Carolina.

Go deeper: Tech's on-again, off-again role in campaign debates

Go deeper

11 mins ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.