Reddit, Kickstarter Join Net Neutrality Protests, Rally Users
In a last ditch effort to save net neutrality, websites including Reddit, Pornhub and Kickstarter are urging their users to tell Congress to intervene.
The appeals were displayed across the web pages on Tuesday. Kickstarter went as far to show a giant pop-up screen with the words “Defend Net Neutrality” across the entire homepage.
Reddit got creative; the technology subreddit displayed a fake alert from a broadband provider warning users they’re out of bandwidth and need to upgrade their internet plan.
The sites joined an online protest on Tuesday called “Break the internet” that opposes the upcoming FCC vote to repeal the net neutrality protections. Others including Github, Imgur and Mozilla participated too with pro-net neutrality banners across their pages.
However, there’s little time left for net neutrality supporters to act. The FCC is expected to end the protections on Thursday in a 3-2 vote along partisan lines.
Internet firms have been staunchly against the repeal over worries broadband providers will throttle connection speeds and block content once the protections are gone.
But while several websites tried to publicly rally their users in protest on Tuesday, the bigger companies including Google, Facebook and Netflix were mum.
That’s a contrast from 2012, when Google was among the high-profile sites to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, a controversial bill that internet firms claimed threatened free speech. During an online protest against it, Google took symbolic action by blacking out the logo on its homepage.
On Tuesday, others like Twitter choose to tweet their support for net neutrality. The company noted that there have been 6.2 million tweets on the topic, with many of them noting how the repeal will hurt consumers and innovation.
So far, Democrats in Congress have been the most vocal in canceling or delaying Thursday’s FCC vote. However, a few Republican lawmakers have mentioned that the net neutrality debate should be solved with legislative action, rather than through the FCC.
On Tuesday, Republican Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado went as far to urge FCC chairman Ajit Pai to delay Thursday’s vote over concerns the repeal might have “unanticipated negative consequences.”
“I believe Congress can find the right balance of light-touch regulatory authority while celebrating the same open internet protections that exist today,” Coffman wrote in a letter to the FCC chairman.
On the same day, Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota said that while he supports the repeal, only “Congressional action” will settle the net neutrality debate. He is hoping for a bipartisan solution.
Despite the concerns, the FCC chairman insists the repeal will not damage the internet as critics claim. The FCC and the US Federal Trade Commission intend to crack down on ISPs that violate consumer protection rules through targeted enforcement, instead of relying on heavy-handed regulations, Pai has said.