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Legislators Use Mobile Streaming After C-SPAN is Shut Off

Democratic lawmakers cover sit-in protest with cellphones

A screen-shot of C-SPAN’s broadcast of a Facebook Live stream during the near 26-hour sit-in.

WASHINGTON–After House Republican leaders ordered that C-SPAN cameras be shut off during the Democrats’ sit-in protest on the floor of the House of Representatives this week, the protesting legislators used Periscope and Facebook Live to stream the protest live.

When the sit-in—which was led by Georgia Rep. John Lewis—began, House Speaker Paul Ryan called the House into recess, which in effect, forced C-SPAN’s cameras to be turned off because House rules dictate that cameras can only be used while in session. C-SPAN noted through a tweet during the sit-in that the network “has no control over the U.S. House TV cameras.”

That didn’t stop Democratic legislators who proceeded to broadcast the sit-in through Periscope and Facebook Live from their smartphones and C-SPAN was in fact able to eventually cover the protest by picking up those feeds and broadcasting them live on their own network. Those feeds can be seen on C-SPAN’s website, where numerous clips are shown.

According to the Twitter feed of CNN’s Dana Bash, Representative Steve Israel used Apple’s FaceTime to be interviewed on her show. The Twitter accounts of several Democratic Senators and Representatives taking part were active as well, with many posting selfies of themselves with their colleagues.