The Trump Tower climber of August 10 will go down as an important moment in media history, as 14 million people watched the event go viral in real time via Facebook Live.
More than 80 news organizations used Facebook Live to cover the breaking event and 2.5 million unique viewers in the U.S. watched at least one minute, according to a blog post by Facebook execs Beth Loyd and Peter Roybal.
More than two hours after a man began scaling the south side of New York’s Trump Tower using suction cups, police successfully intercepted him with a risky maneuver witnessed by millions with the help of modern technology.
Police and firefighters were at the scene and had smashed windows and broke through a ventilation duct in an attempt to apprehend the man in what became must-see TV. The blog post notes that most viewers were in the United States, but viewers from around the world included people in the United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Australia and Germany.
CNN, ABC, Fox News, BuzzFeed, NowThis, Yahoo News, Univision and Business Insider are among the prominent media organizations that used Facebook Live to broadcast the event.
CNN was the most watched, with nearly 4.7 million viewers tuning in, a record for both CNN and Facebook.
“CNN’s Facebook Live feed of the climber was a tremendous success,” said Samantha Barry, head of CNN social news. “Our customized experience for the Facebook platform provided our audience with a raw, unnarrated feed, and the opportunity to interact with the community around the story. The record-breaking number of users engaged with one another in the comments section, and CNN joined in to provide the context and reporting users were looking for.”
A record 160 million people have watched Chewbacca Mom on Facebook Live, but the majority of viewers didn’t watch the video unfold in real time. CNN’s Facebook Live coverage of the Trump Tower climber essentially went viral while it was still unfolding, as opposed to most viral videos that are shared many times before people realize the significance.
Trump Tower, which comprises 58 stories, is the home of GOP nominee Donald Trump and the headquarters for his presidential campaign. Trump was not in the building at the time of the stunt.