UPDATE: 3:30 p.m. EDT -- C-SPAN, Capitol Hill’s video network, started streaming footage of the House Democrats' protest on gun control from Twitter's live video app Periscope on Wednesday afternoon. The House cameras were not running since the floor was not officially in session.
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 22, 2016
Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour posted on Twitter in support of the move and referenced that while Facebook was recognized for a live video of a woman donning a Chewbacca mask, lawmakers took to Twitter's app to broadcast a protest.
We may not have Chewbaca, but we have democracy https://t.co/dKDPTIa7Oa
— Kayvon Beykpour (@kayvz) June 22, 2016
The cameras were turned off in the U.S. House of Representatives chamber in Washington on Wednesday as Democrats staged a sit-in to force a vote on gun control, but the stage and protest were still viewable, thanks to Twitter.
Representatives took to the microblogging site to share quotes and photos from the floor with the hashtags #NoBillNoBreak and #NoMoreSilence. One representative chose to share his own video feed of the event with Twitter’s live-streaming app, Periscope.
C-SPAN, Capitol Hill’s video network, tweeted to clarify that it has “no control over the U.S. House TV cameras,” but Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., opened Periscope to share video from the floor. From his front-row seat, Rep. Peters shared footage of the speeches made by several lawmakers, including Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass.
"All we need is a vote. I ask my colleagues and ask our leadership to give us that chance to make sure that pain does not spread to another family," Kennedy said during his speech.
Streaming video from the chamber is illegal by House rules. Peters argued, on Twitter, against House Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision to turn off the cameras. The event was not televised since Speaker Ryan did not formally begin a session.
— Scott Peters (@ScottPetersSD) June 22, 2016
Rep. Peters’ feed was not picture-perfect. He broadcasted more than 10 times instead of sharing one continuous feed.
Some streams were less than 30 seconds long. One ended after only 14 seconds, which prompted someone to tweet about his broadcasting skills:
— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) June 22, 2016
But regardless of the number of starts and stops, the app allowed there to be live footage of the protest, which was planned after four measures on gun policy failed to pass the Senate on Monday. The sit-in comes after Connecticut Rep. Chris Murphy’s 15-hour filibuster last week in which he demanded action on gun control.
— Judy Chu (@RepJudyChu) June 22, 2016
— anna hullum (@ahullum) June 22, 2016
— Meghan Pinson (@MeghanPinson) June 22, 2016
Twitter has been working to grow the power of its live-video app. Last week, the company announced that Periscope streams will soon be embeddable across the web and will play live. Twitter also just acquired Magic Pony Technology, a machine-learning startup focused on improving the quality of mobile video footage.