If you’re clicking around the internet today, you may notice that some of your favorite websites appear differently or are functioning with bizarre restrictions. That’s because it’s Net Neutrality Day of Action, a day of protest spurred by internet activists and some of the world’s biggest websites against the FCC’s plans to deregulate and fundamentally change the web as an open resource available to anyone with a router.
If FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has his way, the concept of net neutrality -- that all ISPs provide equal access and availability to the internet, and can’t prioritize speed for websites or apps that they own -- will soon be upended. The scrubbing of an open internet hinges on the dismantling of Obama-era Title II regulations, which currently forbid telecoms companies from creating fast-lanes for prioritized websites. If successful, Pai’s directive will mean a slower internet and the possibility of limited access to a previously free and open internet. As some advocates claim, this will “give big cable companies control over what we see and do online,” allowing for “widespread throttling, blocking, censorship, and extra fees.” Needless to say, Telecoms giants are enticed.
This is why more than 80,000 websites are participating in the today’s protest, some of which are using their landing pages to indicate what the FCC’s proposed gutting of net neutrality would do for your online experience. (Read: it gets worse).
Netflix, Amazon, Reddit, Pornhub, Airbnb, Spotify and other major players are expressing the severity of the issue on their own websites, with some linking out to the Internet Association’s explainer on the topic, which encourages people to express their misgivings to the FCC and congress directly. Many are showing different messages exhorting people to take an active stake in protecting the current incarnation of the internet. Here’s Netflix’s homepage: