Internet Firms Rally Users to Oppose the End of Net Neutrality

Internet companies, large and small, will begin to rally their users to join a “day of action” online protest against the demise of net neutrality. Many of these same Internet companies fought hard for these same net neutrality rules, instituted in 2015. FCC chairman Ajit Pai has said he supports an open Internet but that the Obama-era rules are too “heavy handed.” Net neutrality prevents large service providers from slowing down the Internet offerings, including media such as movies and music, of their rivals.

Recode reports that, “led by the groups Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and Free Press,” the campaign, dubbed Battle for the Net is planning “a full day of activity next week in an attempt to sway the agency from its course.”

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“We’ve spent so much time [defending net neutrality rules] that we’re not going to go down without a fight,” said Demand Progress’ Mark Stanley. “If we can bring enough pressure to bear, we think there’s a small chance Pai will reconsider his proposal, his path forward.”

The Internet Association, “the Washington, D.C.-based lobbying voice for the likes of Facebook, Google and Twitter,” is also participating, “launching a special GIF-filled website to explain the wonky history behind net neutrality,” and directing visitors “to the FCC so that they can file comments with the agency, which until July 17 is collecting public feedback on Pai’s plans for repeal.”

One Association member, Netflix, plans to “encourage their customers to view the lobbying group’s new advocacy hub next week,” and members Amazon, Facebook, Google and Twitter also plan to participate, but didn’t reveal details. Mozilla, OkCupid, Automattic (the company behind WordPress) and Broadband for America have also announced plans.

All those protesting the end of net neutrality know the odds are against them. “Just because the votes are stacked in one way doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t show up,” said Internet Association leader Michael Beckerman. “The FCC’s looking for comments here. They hear the comments. And also this is not going to end with the FCC. Unfortunately, this is an issue that has bounced back and forth between the FCC and the courts … This is not going to be the last thing.”