Did you know today is the Internet Day of Action? That’s right, July 12th has been designated as a day of online protest by organizations and companies big and small who have come out in favor of Net Neutrality, which, thanks to Verizon’s favorite son, and current FCC Chair, Ajit Pai, is in danger.
Now personally, I think we’re all better off if (for example) Verizon can’t arbitrarily slow down Netflix (or charge them more for “premium” speeds, which Netflix will likely pass on to us) just because they feel like it, but I’m not here to convince you one way or the other about Net Neutrality (and, other, smarter people have done a much better job of laying out the case).
I am here, however, to judge the “actions” I was able to find.
To do this, I went to every site listed as a participant at Battle For The Net, a website put together by the groups who organized the protest. It was an eclectic list of 200something websites, from large companies to porn sites to one guy who is definitely a weirdo conspiracy theorist, but hey, fighting for the open internet has led to some very strange teamups.
However, as I went about my task, fingers clacking away with great vigor, I became concerned. Many of the sites made no mention of the protest at all. Others, like Netflix, did, well, the bare minimum:
Considering this is the company that made a 50-minute special for April Fools’ Day that I swear I didn’t watch all the way through, I sort of expected more.
Thankfully, at least some sites were less subtle. Reddit put the message from CEO Steve Huffman front and center:
And this VPN company even found a way to try to get you to buy stuff while talking (sort of?) about Net Neutrality. See? Activism can be fun and profitable!
But except for these and a couple other standouts, I was disappointed. I had hoped to see some creative graphics or fun pop-ups, but the majority, if they even mentioned the day of action at all, used pretty standard banners.
It began to feel as though I had clicked through to 200something websites (and one weirdo conspiracy theorist, who, it turns out, isn’t even a compelling performer) for nothing.
Oh well, guess it’s time to
Why, it’s him! It’s FCC Chairman Ajit Pai! Look how adorable he is as he tries to throttle our internet speed! And when you scroll, his head bobbles!
I don’t know who that mysterious bear was, but thank you.
If you happen upon any clever protests popping up on the internet today, let me know.
Oh, and if you find that an open internet remains important to you, the current public comments period runs through July 17th.