Here's Why Netflix, Amazon and Other Websites Look Different Today
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:
And here’s the campaign’s small section on Amazon, visible on the bottom right.
Reddit is taking a more hands-on approach, with founder Alexis Ohanian posting a call-to-arms on the site. The actual restriction of content is also a very real and annoying thing on Reddit today:
Even Pornhub is taking a stance on the issue. The company’s VP, Corey Price, told Thrillist: “It’s a fight worth fighting and we’re excited to stand alongside industry leaders to protest the FCC’s planned rollback of net neutrality rules. I encourage all our fans across the world to stand together on July 12th and help spread the word.”
Google and Facebook confirmed their participation in the day of action last week, and Google has written a blogpost in support of the protest. Twitter issued a statement of solidarity early Wednesday, while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote today that his company is staunchly in favor of current FCC protections:
According to the Internet Association, ISPs have it within their sights to gain "unprecedented powers to fundamentally change the internet for the worse." While your favorite websites will probably change back to the format you know and love in the next 24 hours, it's possible that in the next few months that could change. After all, Pai and his Republican counterparts currently have the votes to make this a reality.
If you'd like to give the FCC a piece of your mind, feel free to do so here.