It seems that the controversy about legislators using Twitter, YouTube, and other third party Web services may have come to a close. Both branches of Congress have recently revised their rules for how legislators can use Web services, and whether they can maintain content on third-party Web services and embed it onto their official Web sites. This is an important step in clearing up the earlier confusion and ensuring that clear standards are set. This is also a clear victory for the Let Our Congress Tweet
campaign, which encouraged the committees to open the rules up for legislators to use third-party Web services.
Last week, the Senate Rules and Administration Committee changed its rules
on how Senators can host content. Regulations now allow Senators to embed a video hosted by YouTube, link to a Flickr album, and make use of other third-party Web services as long as they abide by Franking rules: no product endorsement, no partisan material, and no personal (as opposed to official) material. Similarly, the Committee on House Administration has announced their new regulations
, which will permit Members to use Web services in official capacities as well. The Representatives can post content to outside Web sites as long as the material is for "official purposes" and not personal or commercially related.
The now-defunct rules prohibiting the use of third-party services online was meant to preserve the non-commercial and non-partisan communications of Congress to constituents.
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