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Obama to stream meeting from Facebook HQ

US president Barack Obama is harnessing the power of social media in his 2012 re-election campaign with a ground-breaking Facebook Townhall meeting later this month.

Obama will make an appearance at Facebook's headquarters in Palo Alto, California on April 20th to participate in the live event, which will include appearances from Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.

You don't even need a Facebook account to take part – the event will be streamed live for everyone to watch.

Americans with questions for the president can submit them via the official event page on Facebook or by filling out a form on the White House website – although the social network will have the final say about which questions are asked on the air.

White House spokeswoman Erin Lindsay blogged: "The president will connect with Americans across the country to discuss the tough choices we must all make to put our economy on a more responsible fiscal path, while still investing in the innovation economy that makes America more competitive."

Obama has frequently been hailed for his social media strategy – including frequent updates to his Facebook and Twitter accounts – during the 2008 presidential election. He currently has more than 19 million Facebook followers and 7.3 million Twitter followers.