Why You Should Care About Net Neutrality
If you’ve been anywhere on the internet lately, you might’ve seen something—a headline, your vocal-on-Facebook-but-shy-everywhere-else friend’s latest post, some trending video on YouTube, etc.—that references the impending end of “net neutrality.”
I don’t blame you if, despite the amount of coverage the subject’s received, you still don’t know what the term means. I get it. It’s not the sexiest of topics; in fact, it sounds eye-glazingly technical in a way that “Kylie’s baby bump” doesn’t, no matter how much time you spend gathering receipts on where “it” is. Besides, ignorance isn’t necessarily bad, so long as you seek to light up rather than keep dark the shadows your knowledge doesn’t reach.
So let me break down for you what net neutrality is, & what its demise might mean for us, digital marketers & all. Are you ready? Good. Let’s go.
Net neutrality refers to the doctrine that what the internet has to offer & makes possible—from websites to streaming services & everything else online—is equally accessible to you, regardless of who you are. This is the internet as you know it. Internet service providers (or: ISPs for short) such as AT&T & Spectrum cannot limit your access to the internet based on your identity or what you’re accessing, but that can all change after December 14th.
Last week, Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai announced his plan to repeal regulations that have thus far made the internet free of interference from ISPs. These regulations prevented ISPs from, among other things, slowing down or even blocking access to (i.e., censoring) content and/or services that, say, they find disagreeable or competitive. That means in theory you could pay extra for using Instagram if an ISP like Comcast wanted to push its own picture-sharing platform by slowing down access to the app you, your boyfriend, & the thots he follows all spend hours a day on.
You might wonder if the worst predictions about the abolition of net neutrality are overblown. Being a skeptic myself, I understand. But there’s no need to wonder if said predictions will actually come true because they already have in countries like Portugal. Just take a look for yourself.
And that, essentially, is what the future could look like: messy, expensive, & downright ugly. But it doesn’t have to look like that. It’s still possible to take action to prevent the FCC from rolling back the rules that have made net neutrality possible. To make your voice heard, visit BattleForTheNet.com, which will help you contact your Congressperson to let them know that you don’t want a future where you have to pay extra to shop online a little tipsy.
Together, we can save America from becoming more like Portugal (no offense, Portugal—you’re a beautiful country).
Your civic-minded social media marketer,