Historic Day of Support for Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is ISPs being required to treat data that travels over their networks without improper discrimination. It’s an important egalitarian principle for having a better Internet, and today, there was a historic level of support for keeping the U.S. net neutrality gained in 2015.

Many of the most popular websites on the web have been participating in a historic Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality today to oppose the FCC’s plan to slash Title II, the legal foundation for net neutrality rules that protect online free speech and innovation. A flood of major web platforms like Twitter, Reddit, Netflix, Spotify, 4chan, Airbnb, Amazon, Mozilla, OK Cupid, Vimeo, Tinder, Expedia, Pornhub, Imgur, Yelp, and Soundcloud displayed prominent protest messages to their users, encouraging them to take action by contacting the FCC and Congress through tools like BattleForTheNet.com that make it easy for Internet users to make their voices heard.

IMPORTANT NOTE: these numbers represent only a portion of the final totals, and due to the massive numbers, comments and emails will be delivered over several days.  We will release additional updates as we continue documenting what has happened:

  • Well over 10 million people saw the protest messages on participating websites
  • 3,450,000+ emails to Congress (which will be delivered over coming days)
  • More than 1.6 million comments to the FCC (breaking our Sept. 10th 2014 “Internet Slowdown” record for most in a single day)
  • #NetNeutrality trended on both Facebook and Twitter
  • More than 125,000 websites, people, artists, online creators, and organizations signed up to participate in the initial call to protest
  • Celebrities flocked to support the effort including Pearl JamWil WheatonTim RobbinsSusan SarandonBlues TravelerSteven FryMark RuffaloLaura Jane GraceKendrick SampsonAmanda PalmerTed LeoSamantha Bee, and many more.
  • Broad participation from every corner of the Internet: from online gaming communities to librarians to real estate sites to grassroots organizations to independent musicians.
  • NOTE: The volume of participation was so high that the FCC has been “rate limiting” submissions into their docket – there are an enormous number of comments queued up that will be submitted into their system before the July 17 deadline, as fast as their system can handle them. The same is true for emails to Congress members, which will be delivered in the days to come.

An EFF press release is below in this post.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and a broad coalition of user advocacy groups and major technology companies and organizations joined forces today to protest the FCC’s plan to toss out net neutrality rules that preserve Internet freedom and prevent cable and telecommunications companies from controlling what we can see and do online.

Without net neutrality, Internet service providers (ISPs) can block your favorite content, throttle or slow down Internet speeds to disadvantage competitors’ content, or make you pay more than you already do to access movies and other online entertainment.

To show just how important net neutrality is to free choice on the Internet, EFF and a host of other organizations are temporarily halting full access to their website homepages today with a prominent message that they’re “blocked.” Only upgrading to “premium” (read: more expensive) service plans will allow users access to blocked sites and services, the message says. (Don’t worry, the sites aren’t really blocked. Clicking on the message will take you to a link for DearFCC, our tool for submitting comments to the FCC and making your voice heard.)

“We’re giving subscribers a preview of their Internet experience if the FCC dismantles the current net neutrality rules,” said EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry. “AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon will be able to block your favorite content or steer you to the content they choose—often without you knowing it. Those without deep pockets—libraries, schools, startups and nonprofits—will be relegated to Internet slow lanes.”

The online community—gig economy site AirBnb, maker site Etsy, file storage provider DropBox, and hundreds more—have joined EFF and other user advocates today to deliver a message to the FCC: we want real net neutrality protections.

“It’s our Internet and we will defend it,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. “We won’t allow cable companies and ISPs, which already garner immense profits from customers, to become Internet gatekeepers.”