Facebook live-streaming videos from House Democrats' sit-in on the floor were watched more than 3 million times, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.
After official C-SPAN feeds from the House floor were cut off by House Republicans on Wednesday, Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) began streaming the sit-in over the Facebook Live feature. Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) was also streaming video from the floor via Periscope, and several other lawmakers streamed videos on social media.
"Last night Members of the US Congress held a sit-in to demand action on gun violence. The House went into recess, their cameras were turned off and people could no longer see the sit-in,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. "That’s when 19 Members of Congress decided to go Live on Facebook and share what they were doing directly with citizens.”
Zuckerberg said those live streams were viewed 3 million times as of 10 a.m. Thursday — nearly 24 hours after the sit-in began — and that the “number is still growing.”
C-SPAN, which repeatedly noted that it had no control over the video stream from the House floor, began streaming from some of the lawmakers' social media feeds instead. There was often an alert on the C-SPAN screen that noted the "House cameras are not permitted to show sit-in."
It was the first time C-SPAN had used social media to circumvent the standard House feeds.
"When they turned the cameras off today, we found out there's an app for that,” Peters said as the sit-in continued late into Wednesday night.
The House Democrats' historic sit-in ended Thursday afternoon after almost 24 hours.