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Net neutrality backers fight back – CNET

Your internet experience may look a little different today.


Fight for the Future, a non-profit activist group helping organize the protest to protect net neutrality, has provided this pop-up to websites who want to display it on “The Day of Action” to help educate people and get them to submit comments to the FCC in support of the existing net neutrality regulation.

Fight for the Future

That’s because Netflix, OKCupid, Airbnb, Reddit, and dozens of other popular websites greeted visitors on Wednesday with messages urging them to protect the free and open internet.

It’s all part of a massive campaign called the “Day of Action,” an online protest that is meant to stir up grassroots support for the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality regulations. The rules, which were passed in 2015 by a Democrat-controlled FCC, are meant to prevent broadband companies from favoring their own content over competitors’ services or charging fees to deliver faster service.

The regulation has been controversial because the FCC changed the classification of broadband to treat the service like a public utility. Broadband and wireless companies say the regulations impose outdated law designed for the old telephone network on the internet, and that it hampers investment in their networks.

In May, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai introduced a proposal that would return broadband to its previous classification and wipe away the existing rules. Activists and online companies say doing this would give broadband and wireless companies too much control over the internet.

Companies participating in the online protest want to educate the public about the issue and get them to speak out by contacting the FCC to let it know they want the rules to remain in place. The agency is taking comments from the public on the proposal.

“We know we don’t have the votes on the FCC right now to protect the rules,” said Gigi Sohn, a former aide to former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler who championed the 2015 rules. “But there is a small chance that if we get enough public opinion out there that we could stop the FCC from doing what it wants to do.”

Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said in an interview with CNET that it’s crucial for the American public to be heard on this issue.

“Millions of people feel strongly about protecting the free and open internet,” he said.

The Day of Action isn’t the first online protest to show support for net neutrality. Many of the same groups participated in a protest in 2014, which they called Internet Slow Down Day. Many websites showed a spinning loading icon to show what users might experience if broadband providers were able to slow customers’ connections or allow for paid priority services.

So what are some companies on the net doing to mark this day? Here’s a sampling.


The company that developed the Firefox browser has been one of the most outspoken supporters of the FCC’s rules. Over the past few months, Mozilla has collected more than 42,000 comments from Americans in defense of net neutrality.

Mozilla has collected thousands of comments in support of the FCC’s net neutrality rules. And it is sharing these messages with users of its Firefox internet browser.


The company is sharing these messages with its Firefox users by displaying these comments whenever a user opens a new window. It also is displaying this message and providing a link where users can submit comments to the FCC: “Today is the Internet Wide Day of Net Neutrality. You can help by telling the FCC why net neutrality should be protected.”

It’s also released released a new podcast devoted to exploring the effects of net neutrality and it’s released a video interview with US Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota), who has long championed net neutrality and free speech issues.

Internet Association

The online industry’s lobbying group, which counts companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Google as members, has prepared a series of GIFs to show why protecting net neutrality is important. One shows a clip of a character from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air doing a backflip with the words: “Do you like the internet? Great, we do too! A lot.” The site also offers a link to the FCC comment page, so that people can file comments in the proceeding.


The social media platform has created a “spinning wheel of death” emoji to show what the web looks like without net neutrality. It’s also promoting conversations about the topic.


The popular gaming stream services is showing a banner with a link to the Internet Association’s page and asking people to submit comments to the FCC.


The streaming video site was an outspoken supporter of net neutrality back in 2014 when the current rules were being drafted, but it’s largely stood on the sidelines as the issue has popped up again.

Netflix is directing users to the Internet Association’s site to learn more about net neutrality and to file comments in support of the FCC’s existing rules.


But the company says it still supports net neutrality. Today, it’s showing its nearly 100 million subscribers a message at the top of its home page asking them to support the net neutrality rules. The message provides a link to the Internet Association’s Day of Action site, which then directs people to the FCC’s page to file comments.


The online dating website is displaying a message asking people to join them in the fight to protect the open internet and it’s directing people to the Battle for the Net website to file comments with the FCC to support the rules.

The online dating site posted this image when users login to its site to educate them about net neutrality and to encourage them to file comments with the FCC to protect existing regulation.


As an OkCupid member and Internet user, you should be in control what you see and do online — not big cable companies. Join us on this Internet-Wide Day of Action to stop the FCC from destroying net neutrality.

College Humor

The humor site that posts funny videos has put together a short video explaining why it’s important to protect net neutrality. The site warns that without these regulations, “The internet will become like cable TV where you can only get what’s been approved by old rich guys.”

It’s directing users to go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s  page to get more information and to file comments to the FCC.


The Video streaming site has launched an explainer video and blog to educate people on why preserving net neutrality will help keep the internet “free and weird.”


The online search giant published a blog post explaining why net neutrality is important and it’s directing people to the Internet Association’s website for more information and to file comments.


The house/apartment sharing site has displayed a message on its homepage and is providing a link to a blog explaining what net neutrality is and why people should care. It then is offering a comment template with a prewritten comment in support of the current rules. Users can just fill in their names, hit a button and submit the comment.

Here’s an excerpt of the statement: “Preserving strong, enforceable net neutrality rules is fundamental to a free and open internet, and I urge you to protect the existing net neutrality rules to ensure the internet continues to be accessible for all equally.”


On its homepage, the online community has altered its log to make it look like it’s pixelated and loading slowly and a message that types this message:

The internet’s less fun when your favorite sites load slowly, isn’t it? Whether you’re here for news, AMAs, or some good old-fashioned cats in business attire, the internet’s at its best when you—not internet service providers—decide what you see online. Today, u/kn0thing and I are calling on you to be the heroes we need. Please go to and tell the FCC that you support the open internet.



Amazon is directing customers to the Internet Association’s site to learn more about net neutrality and how they can protect the FCC’s rules.


The online retail giant is also displaying a message on the right side of the page encouraging users to find out more about net neutraity. The message simply reads: Net Neutraity? Learn More. And it offers a link to the Internet Association’s website.


The social networking site’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a message on his Facebook page explaining what net neutrality is and why people should care. He said that Facebook supports the current FCC rules that keep the internet open and free from interference from internet service providers. He said the company is also open to working with Congress to create a law to protect net neutrality. His message directs people to find out more about the issue on the Internet Association’s website where they can file comments directly to the FCC.

In her own post, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg reiterated the company’s support of the FCC’s and its willingness to “work with members of Congress and anyone else willing to keep the internet open.”


The American Civil Liberties Union, which defends free speech, has changed its Facebook and Twitter logos to ones that say “Save Net Neutrality.” And it’s included GIF on its home page that that simulates the effect of slowing down the website, a symbolic nod to what abolishing net neutrality would mean for the internet. The ACLU is also encouraging its more than 3 million supporters to submit comments to the FCC against the dismantling the regulation.

“Internet service providers shouldn’t be allowed to mess with the data that we pay them to transport,” Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst at the ACLU, said in a statement. “This is a free speech issue. With the power to restrict access and speeds for websites and content of their choosing, corporations like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T will have the power to distort the flow of data and the marketplace of ideas online.”

This story was originally published at 8:00 a.m PT and is being updated throughout the day with information from companies and organizations about how they are supporting the “Day of Action” to protect the FCC’s existing net neutrality rules. 

UPDATE 9:06 AM PT: This story has been updated with information about what Facebook is doing to support the FCC’s net neutrality rules.  





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Published at Wed, 12 Jul 2017 15:16:45 +0000