The FCC Wants To Repeal Net Neutrality, And Companies Like Twitter, Google, And Amazon Aren't Happy
Welcome to the Internet Day of Action.
Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Airbnb, Reddit, Spotify, and other major tech companies banded together today to protest a plan to roll back net neutrality.
If you're wondering, net neutrality is a set of rules the Federal Communications Commission passed in 2015 to prevent internet service providers from treating different internet traffic differently. But the new Trump-appointed chair of the FCC, Ajit Pai, proposed a plan in May to largely undo net neutrality protections in the US.
Critics of Pai's plan say net neutrality is important because it prevents ISPs from blocking websites and services, slowing them down, or creating internet "fast lanes" for certain services and content in exchange for a premium. Proponents of repealing net neutrality rules say they are burdensome and discourage the telecom industry from investing in infrastructure.
The public commenting period on the rollback of net neutrality is open until July 17. You can comment on the FCC's website. So far the issue has accrued more than 6 million comments.
The Internet Association, a society made up of some of the biggest companies in tech, is calling today's protest the Internet Day of Action.
Here's what some of the most influential tech companies are saying:
Mark Zuckerberg posted a note to his personal Facebook page linking to the Internet Association's Day of Action page, which links to the FCC's public comment page. Zuckerberg said he's "open to working with members of Congress and anyone else on laws to protect net neutrality," but didn't say if Facebook had reached out to lawmakers to start such work.
The home-sharing site is displaying a "Contact Congress" button on its homepage that leads to a form letter advocating against repealing Title II. If you enter your postal code, Airbnb will email your representative on your behalf based on your location.
The streaming music company has provided a link to the Internet Association's Day of Action page on its homepage.
Reddit's /r/technology forum displays this message when you visit:
The link in the message leads to battleforthenet.com, which prompts you to send a form letter to your representative.
On its homepage, the streaming video company is displaying a link to the Internet Association's Day of Action page.
The e-commerce company is linking to the Internet Association's Day of Action page midway down its own homepage.
The social network published a blog post, "Join the Fight for #NetNeutrality," saying that Twitter itself might not exist without net neutrality, and arguing for the economic benefits of an internet without fast and slow lanes. "The FCC is moving quickly through a rulemaking process to gut the core entrepreneurial and consumer protections that are the heart of the innovation economy," the company wrote.
It's also created a unique hashtag for its users:
Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts held a press conference on the lawn of the US Capitol, featuring his fellow Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Al Franken of Minnesota, the American Civil Liberties Union, Mozilla, the Internet Association, and other lawmakers and nonprofits speaking in favor of net neutrality.
Wyden is a longtime supporter of net neutrality, and altered his website for the protest today:
As did the ACLU:
One FCC commissioner also made a statement in favor of net neutrality:
Mignon Clyburn wrote, "I am excited that on this day consumers, entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes, including broadband providers and internet startups, are speaking out with a unified voice in favor of strong net neutrality rules grounded in Title II."