Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb has the details, which are fairly scant. He raises all of the questions that occurred to me when considering this announcement, especially how deeply you’d have to participate with the hosting page (i.e. liking it or not) and whether other sites could share and embed the video.
The response from Facebook doesn’t offer much clarity on these points.
Andrew Noyes, Facebook’s Manager of Public Policy Communications, got back to us by email and had this to say. “Hundreds of members of Congress use Facebook to communicate and connect with their constituents in an official capacity and we’re excited to see Facebook being used prominently as the 112th Congress gavels into session this week.” It turns out that Rep. Boehner, the new Republican Speaker of the House, is leading the effort with his new media team. Facebook is, however, one of very few 3rd party services that Congress has approved for official use, something that was a subject of controversy when the US government started using YouTube prominently.
I suppose given the gap between the capabilities of the public sector and the private it is unreasonable to expect the offices of our governing bodies to come up to the scale and distribution offered by Facebook and YouTube in such short order. I am still not happy that this isn’t being done on a platform that is relatively more open like, oh, say, just about any of them. I’d be happier still if the approved third party sites were used like metaphorical overflow seating in addition to whatever meager streaming resources the IT folks on the Hill could throw together on their own.
Facebook to Live Stream US Congress Opening Tomorrow, ReadWriteWeb