By Melony Roy

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When C-SPAN cameras shut down during a demonstration demanding a vote on gun control, House Democrats turned on their smartphone cameras.

Live-streaming services Periscope and Facebook Live proved to be a valuable tool for Democratic lawmakers who staged a sit-in over gun control.

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Dr. Bill Rosenberg is a political science professor at Drexel University.

“With the advent of smartphones and the new technologies that are coming about, this is kind of just a natural continuation of the use of technology rather than in campaigns now it’s actually in practical politics.”

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg says 19 members of Congress decided to go live on Facebook and those broadcasts have been watched more than 3 million times — and that number is still growing.

“The house rules say that you can’t use electronic technology to send pictures and videos from the floor, so I think the members of the house that were involved in this protest realized this but felt there was a greater good to come of violating house rules.”

C-SPAN chose to pick up those live streams and deliver them straight to TV.

Official numbers from Twitter have not been released, but the network reports that streams from Representatives Peters and Swalwell generated at least 1 million views.

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The hashtags #NoBillNoBreak and #HoldTheFloor have been tweeted 1.4 million times.