WASHINGTON – Today, tech companies, main street businesses and organizations are demonstrating their support for stronger net neutrality protections by adding a spinning icon to their websites, representing a slow-loading Internet. The symbolic icon links to a series of actions to members of Congress, the White House and the FCC. The event builds on the millions of Americans who have told the government to protect innovation and fairness on the Internet from corporate interference.
“The Internet is united against the FCC’s Net Neutrality-killing proposal,” said Craig Aaron, president and CEO of the Free Press Action Fund. “Today we’ll see the Internet slow down as millions of people rise up against this threat to our rights to connect and communicate. There aren’t many issues that could bring together such a diverse array of groups, big platforms and small businesses, senators and everyday citizens, all of them urging the leaders at the FCC to restore real Net Neutrality.”
Internet users had already placed 40,000 phone calls this morning, just through https://www.battleforthenet.com/. (But this represents just a fraction of the total activism, as many major sites have created their own activism tools.)
Screenshots of some of the participating websites can be found here: https://imgur.com/a/KHnr7
Sites are encouraged to continue to join the protests throughout the day — tools are available at: www.battleforthenet.com/sept10th.
“It’s encouraging to see so many prominent companies participating in the day of action in support of an open Internet,” said Evan Engstrom, Policy Director at Engine. “The FCC needs to know that preserving strong net neutrality rules is necessary to ensure that the Internet remains a platform for innovation and economic growth, and that reclassifying broadband as a Title II service is the only way to achieve this goal.”
Evan Greer, Campaign Director of Fight for the Future, added, “Today, we are showing once again not only the power of the Internet to defend itself from threats to free speech but the urgency of protecting net neutrality. Today’s protest was organized by a small number of people working very hard with limited resources. Without a neutral net that gives everyone a voice, we would never have gotten this off the ground. The future of every social movement, startup, independent artist, and innovative idea depends on the outcome of this battle for the net.”
The “Internet Slowdown” is being organized by Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press Action Fund and Engine Advocacy. The Battle for the Net website with updates and actions is www.battleforthenet.com/sept10th.
Groups aim to leave the Internet open so that the next Google and the next Facebook can succeed. They believe that America was built on the fundamental values of freedom of expression where every idea has a fair shot at being heard and big companies like Comcast and Verizon should not be allowed to create Internet fast lanes for rich companies and slow lanes for the rest of the country.
Political momentum has increased recently, including letters to the FCC supporting the light-touch “Title II” approach to achieving net neutrality from Senator Angus King and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and a statement from Representative Matsui, in addition to previous support from more than a dozen Senators and more than 40 Representatives.
Some of the companies and websites that are participating in the action include Automattic (which runs WordPress.com), AVG, Bluehost Boing Boing, Cheezburger, Chess.com, Comptel, CREDO Mobile, DailyDot, Digg, Dropbox, Dwolla, Etsy, Fark, Foursquare, Gandi, General Assembly, Gfycat, Grooveshark, iFixit, Kickstarter, Meetup, Mozilla, Namecheap, The Nation, Netflix, reddit, SendGrid, Tagged, Thunderclap, Tumblr, Twilio, Twitter, Upworthy, Urban Dictionary, Vimeo and Wikia.
Additionally, Google participated by sending a pro-net neutrality email to its activism list of about two million people.
Participating organizations include, among others, American Civil Liberties Union, Common Cause, the Center for Media Justice, ColorOfChange, DailyKos, Demand Progress, Democracy for America, Democrats.com, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Engine Advocacy, Fight for the Future, the Free Press Action Fund, the Future of Music Coalition, Greenpeace USA, the Harry Potter Alliance, the Media Alliance, the Media Mobilizing Project, MoveOn, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, OpenMedia, Popular Resistance, Presente.org, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Progressives United, the Other 98%, RootsAction, Rootstrikers, the Sierra Club, SumOfUs, Voqal, Women, Action & the Media, the Writers Guild of America, East, and the Writers Guild of America, West.