John Oliver Crashed the FCC Website Over Net Neutrality, Again

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Last Week Tonight

It was about three years ago when John Oliver and Last Week Tonight first did a story about net neutrality, which Oliver described as "objectively boring." He called on viewers to support net neutrality by writing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) while it was accepting public comments on rules that would kill net neutrality. The segment was powerful enough to produce a flood of traffic and crash the FCC site. Despite going down, the FCC received more than four million comments.

"Sadly, it seems once more we the people must take this matter into our own hands," Oliver said Sunday as he resurfaced a discussion about net neutrality. It is again under attack and it appears Oliver has again helped crash the FCC site. Just minutes after his segment on net neutrality aired on the east coast, citizens attempting to offer comment couldn't get the FCC website to load.

The current process to offer comment is more complicated than it was in 2015, but Last Week Tonight made an effort to make it easier. The show bought the domain That address forwards directly to the currently crashed FCC website page where you can let the FCC know your thoughts on net neutrality.

The 2015 segment was part of a concerted effort across the internet that ultimately resulted in a robust new set of net neutrality rules. New FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, is pushing to roll back those net neutrality rules after he promised to take a "weed whacker" to regulations.

Companies like Verizon are pushing to reclassify laws that safeguard the internet under Title I of the Communications Act of 1934. One of the major concerns for those in favor of net neutrality is this reclassification would allow companies to slow down access specific sites or products through their products. For instance, if Verizon produced a TV show to compete with Game of Thrones they would be able to slow down HBO's streaming service to make it harder for you to watch their competition.

Verizon was the subject of some ridicule in the segment after they posted a video last week saying the changes to net neutrality laws are just "a different legal footing."

“When Verizon claims, Hey we love the open internet, but why don’t we just put it on a different legal footing? It’s basically O.J. Simpson asking why you won’t let him hold any of your samurai swords,” Oliver responded. “Come on Juice, you know why.”

The FCC had not responded at the time of publication to an inquiry about the cause of their site being unavailable. However, it becoming unavailable moments after Oliver encouraged another deluge of comments would seem to be self-explanatory.

UPDATE: The site is back up.

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Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record but has never met the fingernail lady. Follow him @dlukenelson.