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Net neutrality supporters sent over 5 million emails to the FCC

Big sites pushed visitors to contact the agency and Congress by comment, email, phone and in person.
David Lumb, @OutOnALumb
July 13, 2017
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Fight For The Future

Yesterday, activists advocating for a free and open internet rallied individuals to submit over two million comments and millions of emails and phone calls to the FCC in support of Net Neutrality. Popular sites across the web, from Yelp to Pornhub (and Engadget!), urged users to contact the federal agency and Congress with a singular message: Don't let internet service providers create faster and slower connections to boost their profit margins.

Internet advocacy nonprofit Fight For The Future tallied the participation numbers, which are still climbing: Five million emails and 124,000 calls to Congress, while protestors actually visited twenty Congressional offices. The two million comments made to the FCC almost tripled the previous record made during the "internet slowdown" advocacy day on September 10th, 2014.

Even if they didn't take action, tens of millions of users saw the messages plastered across the web. Big sites and services like Reddit, Twitter, Netflix, Spotify, Airbnb and Amazon all either urged advocacy or pointed users to sites like BattleForTheNet.com, which supplied premade form letters to fire off to the FCC and routed users to their Congressional representative's phone number.

The stock message to the agency, echoed by statements from Google, Facebook, Dropbox, YouTube and internet advocates, is simple: Don't do anything. During the Obama administration, the FCC officially classified the internet a utility, meaning ISPs (in theory) can't limit users' speed or access to sites. Shortly after he was appointed by Trump, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai started vocalizing his disdain for Net Neutrality, calling his agency's previous support of it a "mistake." Whether yesterday's activism changes his mind is a question for tomorrow.

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