Senators Can Now Have Official Facebook Pages

Posted January 21, 2010 at 4:19pm

The Senate Rules and Administration Committee has reached an agreement with Facebook that will enable Senators to set up an “official— Facebook page that follows the chamber’s rules.In a “Dear Colleague— letter sent Thursday, Rules Chairman Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and ranking member Bob Bennett (R-Utah) wrote that the new agreement is “designed to allow Members to create Facebook pages which are fully compliant with Senate Rules and regulations.— Such pages will have no advertisements, for example, and will contain a link to the Member’s Web site.Many Senators, of course, already have Facebook pages, along with accounts on other third-party sites such as YouTube and Twitter. For the last few years, the Senate and the House have grappled with how to handle the exploding social media trend while also following somewhat strict — and outdated — Internet rules.In 2008, both chambers tweaked their Internet rules. The Senate’s new regulations allow Members to use third-party sites as long as the normal franking restrictions apply: no product endorsement, no partisan material and no unrelated personal information.The Senate’s agreement with Facebook essentially gives Senators a template for following those rules. According to Thursday’s letter, Facebook will offer “support services— to Senators; the social networking site will also limit fake or “hoax— Member pages.The Senate and the House already have a similar agreement with YouTube. Members can post homemade videos to House and Senate YouTube pages that are scrubbed free of advertisements.