On Wednesday, dozens of companies are taking part in an online day of action to highlight the importance of net neutrality—the concept of an internet that is free for all, in which service providers can’t prioritize some content over others.
Back in 2014, there was an Internet Slowdown day in which companies used loading symbols on their sites to demonstrate what a world without net neutrality regulations could be like. Soon after, the Federal Communications Commission enshrined net neutrality. But in May, under the leadership of new Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC voted to overturn those Obama-era net neutrality rules. Now, the subject is open for comments from the public, which many sites are linking to during this protest. Many are concerned that the FCC is heading toward a full dismantling of regulations. (For more on the current state of net neutrality debate, watch this John Oliver segment.)
Today’s protest, which was organized by Fight for the Future, shows websites taking various steps to show their support.
Here are the ways some major online players are taking part.
Netflix has a loading symbol at the top of their homepage and next to it text reads “Protect Internet Freedom. Defend Net Neutrality. Take Action.” There is a hyperlink that leads you to a website with more information. However, you can exit out the text so that it disappears. Once you do that, it won’t come back onto your account even if you reopen the website in a new tab.
Tumblr has a header at the top of your dashboard that reads “Issue Time: Net Neutrality.” When you click on it, it leads you to the Tumblr staff blog, on which there is a post about why the internet needs Tumblr users to stand up for it.
Etsy’s homepage always features a rotating series of images and ads, and today one of them is about net neutrality. However, it takes about 24 seconds to cycle through all four of the headers, so there’s a good chance you could miss the one about net neutrality. If you do see it, clicking on it links you a site where you can send a comment to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
In typical fashion, Reddit went all out. When you go to its homepage, the following text loads slowly:
“The internet's less fun when your favorite sites load slowly, isn't it? Whether you're here for news, AMAs, or some good old-fashioned cats in business attire, the internet's at its best when you—not internet service providers—decide what you see online. Today, u/kn0thing and I are calling on you to be the heroes we need. Please go to battleforthenet.com and tell the FCC that you support the open internet.
The r/technology subreddit displays a full-screen message at the top of the page saying it’s not included in your internet package and that you have to pay an extra fee to access it. Then you are directed to click on a hyperlink to contact your lawmakers and the FCC. You can still read the page—you just have to scroll down to access the regular content.
Mozilla doesn’t have any extra gimmicks, instead choosing to simply include information about the work it does to protect the Internet on their homepage. (Update, July 12, 5:45 p.m.: The welcome screen for Mozilla's Firefox is also highlighting net neutrality by showing users comments submitted to the FCC about the importance of an open internet.)
Yelp has added a loading symbol next to its name, instead of their normal icon. You’re not prompted to click on it, but if you do, you’re led to a blog post from Yelp’s director about why the company supports net neutrality.
Amazon is listed on the website as a participant , but it displays an unchanged homepage.
AT&T joined the fight at the last minute, announcing its plans to participate only on Tuesday. But it also doesn’t have anything specific to net neutrality regulations on its site today. That’s unsurprising from a company that once sued the FCC to stop net neutrality rules. In fact, Fight for the Future even lists AT&T as an enemy of net neutrality on its website.
Other registered participants that don’t really seem to have done much of anything today include Weebly, Pinterest, Noiseaware, Medium, and Dropbox.
Twitter isn’t listed on Battleforthenet.com as a participant, but if you tweet with #NetNeutrality, a loading symbol pops up next to it. It’s being promoted as a trending topic by Twitter’s global public policy team as well.
YouTube, which along with Netflix consumes about half of America’s bandwidth, doesn’t seem to be displaying anything different on its site today. However, last week, more than 170 content creators from YouTube signed an open letter to the FCC supporting net neutrality. The letter can be found on the Internet Creators Guild, which today pops up with a message asking you to contact the FCC.
Multiple sites and companies—including the National Hispanic Media Coalition, The Nation, Other98, Greenpeace, Chess.com, Bloody Disgusting, and RockTheVote—are using a similar pop-up on their sites, which includes the text “This is the web without net neutrality.” The pop-up also offers a contact form for the FCC and a generic letter that you can send out if you’re not comfortable writing your own.
Naral Pro-Choice America has a prominent position on their homepage about keeping the Internet open and free and directs you to sign a petition.
SoundCloud has an ad on the right hand side of your homepage that directs you to leave a comment for the FCC when clicked on.
Spotify has a banner at the top of the homepage that you can click to find out more about net neutrality. You’re then directed to the Internet Association’s website.
ThinkGeek, a retail company that focuses on nerd culture, has a banner that sends you to a blog post detailing why the company supports net neutrality.
Slashdot, a news outlet that aggregates tech-related stories, has an announcement at the top of the page that tells people what today is and directs people to Battle for the Net if they want to get involved.
Urban Dictionary features net neutrality as the word of the day for July 12, calls former Sen. Ted Stevens an idiot, and has a banner that reads “Save Net Neutrality.” Stevens, of course, once famously referred to the internet as a “series of tubes.”
Wanderu, a site that aggregates bus and train fares, has a banner regarding protecting free speech and the open Internet, which links to a petition.
Vimeo has a video about why we need net neutrality at the top of its homepage listed as the staff pick.
Mitu, a Latino–oriented media site, has a graphic on its homepage about saving net neutrality, including possible concerns if it’s not saved: slow streams, site blocking, and new fees.
Funnyordie has featured comedic videos on its homepage called “Porn Stars Defend Net Neutrality” and “The Yelling Man Takes on Net Neutrality.”
Change.orghas a banner on its site labeled URGENT, asking people to help save net neutrality by signing a petition.
Collegehumor’s homepage has net neutrality as featured content, which links to a post of from 2014, when it initially explained what net neutrality was and how people could help.
Creative Commons has a huge pop-up asking you to show your support of net neutrality. When you click out of it, there’s still a fairly large banner on the top of the site, presumably in case you missed the first one.
Airbnb has a graphic on its homepage about taking action to support a free and open internet. It links you to a blog post of theirs where you can contact Congress.
The American Library Association features information about net neutrality in the center of its homepage and has its own FCC contact form.
Kickstarter pops up with a banner when you first go to the site.
99 Designs, a site that helps create logos for businesses, has a short video on their homepage with a loading icon. It tells viewers that the future could be them having to pay to access sites if net neutrality is not protected.
Bittorrent has a pop-up and a circle with a slash going through the logo at the top of its website. When you click on it, you’re led to a blog post about net neutrality day.
Imgur, which features viral internet images, has a banner on its website that directs you to a comment form, but can be exited out of to view the website regularly.
Vice Impact, the opinion side of the site, has a cover story interviewing Evan Greer, an organizer and spokesperson with Fight for our Future.
And finally Pornhub has a banner at the top of their site that says “Slow Porn Sucks.”
The comment period lasts until Aug. 16, so you have about a month to share your thoughts. The FCC is expected to make a ruling on net neutrality by the end of the year.