Big Tech Companies Are Planning “Go Slow” Day to Protest the FCC Net Neutrality Proposal

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Sept. 4 2014 6:56 PM

Big Tech Companies Are Planning “Go Slow” Day to Protest the FCC Net Neutrality Proposal

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Net neutrality advocates protesting outside the FCC in May.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The FCC’s net neutrality proposal, announced in April, has received steady criticism from advocates of free and open Internet. And more than 1 million responses poured in when the agency opened a public comment period. Now influential tech companies are preparing to make Sept. 10 a day of protest called “Go Slow” day.

Mozilla, Reddit, KickStarter, FourSquare, Vimeo, and Meetup will all simulate what the user experience could be like on their sites without current net neutrality protections. The goal is to protest proposed rules that would allow Internet service providers to create fast lanes for companies that can afford to pay. Even porn sites like PornHub, RedTube, and YouPorn are joining in (though a PornHub representative on Reddit was quick to note that it won’t actually slow down the porn—users will just see a big display about net neutrality when they visit the site). That's commitment, people.

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Startup lobbying group Engine is organizing the protest. It explained in a blog post:

For the Internet Slowdown on September 10, many participating companies will install widgets on their sites displaying a revolving icon (a common signal of slowly loading content) to symbolize how the Internet would function in a world without net neutrality. Others, including Engine, will direct their users to call or email policymakers.

Fight for the Future, the grass-roots organizers who led the SOPA/PIPA blackouts in 2012, is also involved. Campaign manager Evan Greer told the Guardian, “Net neutrality is tough to explain to people, so we wanted to organize an action that actually shows the world what’s at stake. Unless internet users unite in defense of net neutrality, we could be seeing those dreaded ‘loading’ wheels a lot more often ... while monopolistic companies get to decide which content gets seen by the most people.”

Steel yourself on Wednesday for a day of slow connection speeds. Hopefully the statement will be dramatic enough to motivate a new approach by the FCC.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

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