Fight for the Future


Fight for the Future statement in response to White House comments on FCC plan to dismantle net neutrality free speech protections

Posted 16:59 EDT on July 18, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, July 18, 2017
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

News reports today indicate that the White House has offered comments regarding the FCC’s plan to slash Title II based net neutrality protections that prevent companies like Comcast and AT&T from charging extra fees, or engaging in throttling, offering paid fast lanes, and censorship. Digital rights group Fight for the Future, a leading net neutrality organization that played a key role in the recent massive day of action on July 12, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to campaign director, Evan Greer (pronouns: she/her):

“The White House’s comments today are far from full throated support for the FCC’s plan, and underscore the reality that voters from across the political spectrum, including more than 75% of those who voted for Donald Trump, support strong net neutrality protections that keep the web free of extra fees, throttling, and censorship.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai is increasingly isolated – he has clearly misjudged the Republican base. No one wants companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T to have the power to decide what we can see and what we can say on the Internet.

The White House fell far short of supporting the FCC’s plan, and only noted that they are right to “review” the current rules. This is a clear signal that they know how unpopular the repeal of net neutrality rules is with voters, including conservatives and libertarians.

Net neutrality is the free speech fight of our generation. Internet users are outraged and paying attention. Decision makers in Washington, DC need to listen to the public, not just lobbyists from big telecom companies. When they do, they’ll realize that allowing the FCC to move forward with their plan to slash net neutrality protections will result in them being seen by constituents as enemies of the Internet, enemies of innovation, and enemies of freedom.”

Fight for the Future announced this morning plans to turn its focus to Congress, with a new wave of billboards focused on lawmakers who support the FCC’s plan, and a “congressional scorecard” to make it easy for voters to learn where their members stand.

Background on the historic July 12 net neutrality day of action:

Nearly all of the most popular websites on the web participated in a historic Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality on July 12, 2017 to oppose the FCC’s plan to slash Title II, the legal foundation for net neutrality rules that protect online free speech and innovation. A flood of web platforms small and large like Twitter, Reddit, Netflix, Spotify, 4chan, Airbnb, Amazon, Mozilla, OK Cupid, Vimeo, Tinder, Expedia, Pornhub, Imgur, Yelp, Spotify, and Soundcloud – along with a vast array of online communities from every corner of the Internet: gaming forums, YouTube creators, subreddits and more – displayed prominent protest messages to their users, encouraging them to take action by contacting the FCC and Congress through tools like BattleForTheNet.com that make it easy for Internet users to make their voices heard.

See PHOTOS, IMAGES, and DESCRIPTIONS of how participants are protesting here: http://imgur.com/a/vYVet

SEE A SAMPLING OF VIDEO COMMENTS here: https://vimeo.com/225341994/852009671a

There was so much activity on this day that organizers are still in the process of documenting and compiling it, but here are some initial numbers showing the scale of this massive event:

  • Tens of millions of people saw the protest messages on participating websites
  • Over 5 million emails to Congress (which will be delivered over coming days)
  • More than 2 million comments to the FCC (nearly tripling our Sept. 10th 2014 “Internet Slowdown” record for most in a single day)
  • More than 125,000 phone calls to Congress
  • #NetNeutrality trended on both Facebook and Twitter
  • Protesters went in person to more than 20 Congressional offices 
  • More than 125,000 websites, people, artists, online creators, and organizations signed up to participate in the initial call to protest
  • Celebrities flocked to support the effort including Pearl Jam, Wilco, Wil Wheaton, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Blues Traveler, Steven Fry, Mark Ruffalo, Laura Jane Grace, Kendrick Sampson, Amanda Palmer, Ted Leo, Samantha Bee, and many more.
  • Broad participation from every corner of the Internet: from online gaming communities to librarians to real estate sites to grassroots organizations to independent musicians. See a gallery here.
  • Facebook, Google, and Dropbox three of the largest Internet companies, came out publicly with strong statements in support of the current FCC rules. This is significant – especially given Facebook’s previous opposition to certain net neutrality rules, notably in India.

The effort is led by many of the grassroots groups behind the largest online protests in history including the SOPA blackout and the Internet Slowdown. Media attention for online mobilizations tends to focus on the big names participating, but there is a much more interesting story: a coalition of Internet activists huddled over their laptops in coworking spaces, home offices, and coffee shops, who are the ones who came up with the idea, called for, and organized the protest, and have since been working together to lay the groundwork, build the technical tools, and create the educational resources that make it possible for large and small websites to participate in these mass days of action. It’s a grassroots effort involving dozens of volunteers working together in Slack channels, outreach spreadsheets, endless email chains, organizing in online communities and forums, and an enormous amount of creativity and digital elbow grease.

The list of sites and apps participating has grown so quickly it’s almost impossible to keep up, but participants include Automattic (Wordpress), eBay, Rosetta Stone, Pinterest, Amazon, Mozilla, Netflix, Etsy, Kickstarter, Soundcloud, Dropbox, Spotify, Redfin, Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Medium, Y Combinator, GitHub, Pantheon, Opera, Bittorrent Inc., Shapeways, Nextdoor, Stack Overflow, Funny Or Die, Dreamhost, and CREDO Mobile, Goldenfrog, Fark, Chess.com, Namecheap, DuckDuckGo, Checkout.com, Sonic, Ting, ProtonMail, O’Reilly Media, SlashDot, Dribble, Dischord, SourceForge, and Union Square Ventures. Organizations participating include Fight for the Future, Free Press Action Fund, Demand Progress, Center for Media Justice, EFF,  Internet Association, Internet Archive, World Wide Web Foundation, Creative Commons, National Hispanic Media Coalition, Greenpeace, Common Cause, ACLU, Rock the Vote, American Library Association, Daily Kos, OpenMedia, The Nation, PCCC, MoveOn, OFA, Public Knowledge, OTI, Color of Change, MoveOn, Free Software Foundation, Internet Creators Guild, the Women’s March, and many others.

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