Major Internet Players, Including Reddit, Tumblr, And Others, To Protest For Net Neutrality On September 10


In an action somewhat reminiscent of the widespread protests against SOPA back in 2012, several major internet businesses are planning a symbolic “internet slowdown” on September 10 to advocate for stronger net neutrality regulations.

The protest, called Battle For The Net, is being organized by advocacy groups Fight For The Future, Demand Progress, Free Press, and Engine Advocacy. Although sites will not actually slow their own servers to a crawl, they will all be displaying widgets showing progress bars and loading icons to protest against fast and slow lanes. Those widgets will direct readers to contact Congress, the White House, and the FCC to advocate specifically for reclassifying broadband services as Title II common carriers.

Reddit has signed on to the effort, as has Tumblr. Other notable sites planning to participate include BitTorrent, BoingBoing, Cheezburger, Etsy, Foursquare, Kickstarter, and Upworthy, among many others.

In an editorial for Wired, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson urged other internet businesses to join the effort, saying that the FCC’s current proposal, “would kill permissionless innovation and free expression.” He added, “Companies would succeed because of deals struck with cable companies, not because of superior products.”

Dickerson appealed directly to business managers, not just individuals and advocacy groups, to get involved and raise a ruckus, by explaining, “The cable and phone companies are counting on our apathy. After all, businesses are often more conservative than activists and tend to not want to jump alone.”

“But not this time,” Dickerson concluded. “This is an all-hands-on-deck moment for the business world, because the future of the Internet is the future of American business.”

Craig Aaron, president and CEO of Free Press, said in a statement that, “next week’s Internet slowdown will show millions more people what a world without real Net Neutrality would look like.” He added, “If you claim to support the free and open Internet, you must pick a side in this battle. And being on Team Internet means you support reclassifying broadband under Title II of the Communications Act. There’s still a spot for Tom Wheeler on Team Internet, but only if he heeds the public and changes course now.”

Public interest groups and individual citizens alike have been leaving negative comments on the FCC’s proposal for months. Well over 1 million public comments have been filed so far, making it one of the most-discussed dockets the FCC’s ever had.

Of those, the vast majority stand firmly against the idea of regulation that permits fast lanes or multi-tiered access. NPR shared one analysis of the data that did not find “enough unique or organic anti-net-neutrality comments to register” on their visualization at all.

The full list of participating companies, organizations, and individuals, and the codes for participating, are available at BattleForTheNet.com.