There's a Massive Protest Happening Today—Online

More than 80K websites oppose FCC plan
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2017 2:20 PM CDT
Facebook, Amazon, Google Lead Online Charge on FCC
A pro-net neutrality message on Reddit, one of more than 80,000 websites taking part in a protest Wednesday against the FCC's plans to weaken regulations on internet service providers.   (Screenshot)

There's a massive protest happening Wednesday—and it's taking place entirely online. CNBC reports more than 80,000 websites—including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Reddit, Airbnb, and Twitter—are taking part in a "Day of Action" to oppose the FCC's plan to weaken net neutrality protections. The FCC voted in May to reverse 2015 regulations that prevent Comcast, AT&T, and other internet service providers from blocking certain websites or slowing down or speeding up specific content. While the FCC argues regulation hurts innovation, the organizers of the protest—which includes messages on participating websites—accuse the FCC of caving to "lobbyists from telecom companies in pursuit of more power." Here's what else you need to know:

  • First, here's the official protest page, which lets visitors send a message to the FCC.
  • The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a summary of the battle between ISPs, which claim to also want a "free and open internet," and supporters of net neutrality.
  • Speaking of which, AT&T has actually joined the Day of Action despite being one of those ISPs actively lobbying against regulation. Protest co-organizers give HuffPost 10 ways ISPs can actually support net neutrality, starting with "stop lying."
  • Republican Sen. John Thune, writing in Recode, says bipartisan legislation is the key to long-lasting net neutrality. He accuses Silicon Valley of prizing "slogans over solutions."
  • In a piece bluntly titled "The Internet Is F---ed (Again)," the Verge explains why the 2015 net neutrality regulations are needed—starting with the fact that ISPs like Comcast and Spectrum are some of the least popular companies in the world and yet consumers have no choice but to pay them for internet access: "The lack of competition in the internet access market [lets] these companies act like predatory monopolies."
  • But the chairman of Business in the Public Interest writes for the Hill that ISPs have already shown they will comply with the tenets of net neutrality voluntarily—"albeit grudgingly"—and therefore it's a mistake to try to regulate the internet like landline telephones.
  • Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden tells Wired he believes ISPs are only paying lip service to net neutrality to avoid public backlash. Net neutrality is popular across the political spectrum, with a recent poll finding 76% of Americans support the current regulations.
(Read more net neutrality stories.)

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