Dozens Companies Took Part In An “Internet Slowdown” Protest in Favor of Net Neutrality

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( — September 11, 2014)  — The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said its proposals were designed to protect net neutrality.

However, many groups will display the “spinning wheel” an icon for slow loading speed. Indicating that it would take part in the protest, Netflix posted an animation of the wheel on its US Twitter account on Monday. The icon was linked to a page showing readers ways to take action to defend “net neutrality”, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

A Twitter spokesman told the BBC: “We support the Internet Slowdown campaign and its efforts to draw public attention to a critically important issue. We’re not planning to add a banner to our home page, but we’ll participate in other ways.” The Spokesman would not elaborate on the form Twitter’s protest would take.

According to one of the protest organisers, Free Press, Reddit and Netflix will be joined by Mozilla, Kickstarter and Upworthy, as well as Automattic – which runs WordPress – Digg and Vimeo.

Paul Sieminski, general counsel of Automattic said: “The free and open internet has been central to the economy and to global free expression. Everyone has to step up now and do everything they can to protect it,” according to AFP.

“We need our leaders to stand up to the cabal of cable and phone giants that have called the shots in Washington for too long,” Free Press Action Fund president Craig Aaron said.

So, what is net neutrality?

Anyone who has ever looked with envy at the first-class cars on a crowded commuter train – and wondered bitterly why a few get to travel in comfort while the rest are crammed against each other’s armpits – will have a good basic understanding of net neutrality.

On the net neutral train, all passengers (ie data) would be treated equally, with no special carriages for those able to pay.

This long-held principle that all traffic on the network should be treated the same goes back to the very dawning of the web and for many enshrines the whole ethos of an open internet, free from corporate control.

Those in favor of net neutrality argue that the internet service providers (ISPs) that provide the pipes for content should just run the networks and have no say over how and what content flows to consumers, as long as it is legal.