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 chambers 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 Members senate.gov 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the House have grappled with how to handle the exploding social media trend while also following somewhat strict and outdated Internet rules.In 2008, both chambers tweaked their Internet rules.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 Senates 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 Senates agreement with Facebook essentially gives Senators a template for following those rules. According to Thursdays 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.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.