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Twitter makes donating to your favorite politician just a tweet away

Just in time for Wednesday night's presidential debate, the social network teams with mobile-payments company Square to let US users give money to campaigns via a tweet.

Twitter and Square have created a feature to make donations directly to candidates through a tweet. Twitter

During Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate, people can take to Twitter for more than just spirited discussion or trash talk. They can put their money where their tweet is.

The social network said Tuesday that it has partnered with mobile-payments company Square on a feature that lets Twitter's users in the US contribute to political campaigns via a tweet.

Twitter said the new fund-raising feature is one of the easiest ways for users to make a donation on a platform where people are already fiercely debating and following the 2016 election race.

"When people have conversations about politics, they have them on Twitter," the company said in a blog post. "It's what voters learn and share in these conversations that routinely motivates political action. That's why we're making it easier for Twitter users to actively support candidates and causes."

Political campaigns have been trying to get more mobile donations from potential voters on the go. In the past, if candidates wanted to raise money on Twitter, they would provide a link to their website, which meant users would have to leave the social network's site to make a contribution.

"Essentially the number one question we've been getting from campaigns since early 2012 was, 'When are you going to allow for candidates and committees to be able to accept donations in a tweet?'" Jenna Golden, head of political advertising sales at Twitter, told Marketplace.

The partnership between Twitter and Square shouldn't come as a surprise. Both San Francisco-based companies were co-founded by Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of Square and the current interim CEO of Twitter. The new feature comes as many investors wonder whether Dorsey could run both companies if he is named permanent CEO of Twitter.

Last week, major Twitter investor Chris Sacca tweeted that Dorsey can handle it.

"The market knows that [Dorsey] has such strong teams at both [Square] and [Twitter] that he can run both companies," he said. "This is settled."

With the new fund-raising feature, campaigns can set up an account through Square Cash to ask for and accept donations through a unique link called "$Cashtag." When users see a tweet with a $Cashtag, they can click a "contribute" button to make a donation after submitting their personal information, required by the Federal Election Commission, and providing payment-card details. Users can also send the $Cashtag to their followers if they want.

At least a dozen presidential candidates, including Democratic contenders Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, have started using the new feature, said Nick Pacilio, a Twitter spokesman.

Republican presidential candidates Scott Walker and Mike Huckabee are also aboard. Walker took to Twitter on Tuesday asking for funds prior to the second GOP primary debate in Simi Valley, California, on Wednesday.

"Show Scott Walker some support going into the second debate by donating $2," the tweet read.

A Twitter spokesman said the company doesn't get a cut of the donations, but Square's standard deduction of 1.9 percent for each transaction applies.

Twitter is in talks to bring $Cashtag-style contributions to nonprofit organizations as well, Golden told Marketplace.

Update, September 16 at 12:45 p.m. PT: Adds details.