The effort to preserve net neutrality as the FCC tries to dismantle it got a boost this week from Twitter, Medium and Soundcloud.
They become the latest companies to pledge to participate in the Day of Action, a campaign to fight FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s effort to dump rules that are meant to keep the principle of net neutrality intact by prohibiting internet providers from favoring certain online content over others. The rules were established in 2015 after years of battles and a massive online and offline campaign organized by some of the same groups and companies that are gearing up for the fight this time around.
The Day of Action is scheduled for July 12 and participants include Netflix, Amazon, Mozilla, Y Combinator, Reddit and plenty of advocacy groups.
Participants will display messages on their home pages or encourage their users to take action, such as by sending their comments to the FCC before the first deadline of July 17.
Massive online campaigns are credited with helping pass the Open Internet rules a couple of years ago, as well as stopping controversial anti-piracy legislation five years ago.
However, despite recent polls that show that net neutrality is supported by a majority of the public regardless of their party affiliation, it’s unclear whether Pai and the FCC will be swayed by net neutrality advocates.
Pai, a Republican who was President Trump’s pick to take over as FCC chairman after the departure of Tom Wheeler (who was appointed by President Obama), is anti-regulation and says the net neutrality rules have hindered investment in broadband. In addition, he has yet to take action after allegations of fake comments being submitted to the FCC website.
“He still has his Verizon hat on,” Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-California, told SiliconBeat in a phone interview Thursday. Pai is a former Verizon lawyer.
The Silicon Valley congresswoman held a net neutrality roundtable this week at Mozilla. She talked with a handful of startup founders and others who said an open internet was important to the establishment of their companies, “and to the VCs who invested in them because there was certainty to the rules.”
“To a person, they applauded the rules that had been put into a place,” Eshoo said. “It’s essential that these businesses weigh in and tell their story. The story is that the [net neutrality] policy has been platform for their success.”
There are 5 million comments about the issue on the FCC’s website so far.
Photo: Twitter’s app on an iPhone screen. (Richard Drew/AP)
Tags: Anna Eshoo, day of action, net neutrality, twitter