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Facebook will join forces with Fox News for the first Republican primary debate of the 2016 presidential election campaign.REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

The first Republican presidential primary debate will be held in Cleveland, Ohio on 6 August, it was announced on 20 May. The debate, to be hosted on Fox News in conjunction with the Ohio Republican Party, will be moderated by Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace.

According to AdWeek, Facebook will be partnering Fox News to deliver data on top issues to be debated on by candidates.

Andy Mitchell, the director of news and global media partnerships at Facebook, told AdWeek: "Facebook's scale and foundation in real identity give Fox News and the Republican contenders for the nomination the opportunity to open up the debate to Americans in a new and unique way."

A statement released by Fox News revealed the criteria for the first presidential debate. The network will allow contenders who place in the top 10 of the five most recent polls by 4 August. According to AdWeek, that does not mean the debate would necessarily be capped at 10 contenders.

Contenders will also be required to meet US Constitutional standards, be officially announced candidates and registered formal campaign forms, filed with the FEC and paid for. Candidates who do not meet those requirements for the first debate will be given airtime on Fox News, the network's executive vice president Michael Clemente said.

CNN, which will be hosting the second debate on 16 September, will split it into two, according to the Washington Post. The first will feature the top 10 candidates in recent polls, while the second will include candidates who achieve at least 1% in polls.

The CNN debate will be hosted at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California and will require contenders to have a minimum of one paid campaign worker in two of the four early voting states.

The Republican presidential field has become increasingly crowded with estimates it will reach 16 candidates. Official candidates include: Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.