Facebook Live, Periscope pick up coverage of Democrats’ gun-control protest

Thanks to live video from Facebook and Twitter’s Periscope, those interested in watching the gun-control drama unfold in the House today can tune in, even though the Republican majority turned off C-SPAN cameras when the Democrats began a sit-in Wednesday morning.

Three dozen Democrats led by Rep. John Lewis of Georgia are demanding a vote on measures to expand background checks and block some gun purchases, according to the Associated Press. Similar measures — introduced after last week’s mass shooting in Orlando, which killed 49 people — failed in the Senate Monday night.

Now, C-SPAN is picking up a Periscope stream from the House floor, noting on its website that it does not control the official House feed.

Several lawmakers are broadcasting on Periscope, the live-video platform owned by Twitter. Other lawmakers, including the Bay Area’s Mike Honda and Barbara Lee, also streamed video from the scene on Facebook Live. The broadcasts have adopted the hashtag #NoBillNoBreak, after the Democrats urged House Speaker Paul Ryan, R- Wisconsin, to keep the House in session next week despite a scheduled break.

Facebook and Twitter have ramped up their live-video efforts lately, and there are reports that Google is looking to get into the action, too. The rise of live broadcasting has raised questions galore, including because events such as rapes and deaths have been live-streamed. Most recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg conducted his first live Q&A, and interviewed astronauts on the International Space Station.

Clarification: As dictated by House rules, the cameras are turned off when a recess is called. House Speaker Paul Ryan called a recess when the sit-in began.

Update June 23 after sit-in ended after nearly 26 hours: Twitter and Facebook wouldn’t say whether their live video products enjoyed their highest viewerships yet because of the sit-in. But Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said that in the 24 hours from the beginning of the sit-in, “19 members used Facebook Live for a total combined viewership of 3 million,” with CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying later in a post that that number was still growing. Meanwhile, Twitter’s @gov account tweeted the following today:


Photo: Screen shot from Rep. Mike Honda’s Facebook Live broadcast of the sit-in.


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  • Henry

    Are the Democrats going to stop backing all the murders that are done at the abortion clinics?