Like most political movements in the twenty-first century, the fight for Net Neutrality is taking place on Twitter. Before embarking on an online crusade of Tweets to save Net Neutrality, though, one needs to arm oneself with the facts, statistics, and rebuttals necessary to be an effective proponent of the policy.
Here's the general idea of Net Neutrality, as adapted from a Worth Hiding article from early summer 2017:
The internet has assumed a central role in today's world, facilitating the global spread of knowledge, entertainment, and commerce. In many ways, the internet is the epitome of the free market: the cost of entry is little to nothing, and any Internet user—provided their connection isn't censored by their government or institution—can navigate to whatever online destination they choose.
This freedom of navigation is fundamental to the internet’s—and in the modern world, society’s—well-being. Net neutrality is the protection of these rights, dictating that internet service providers (ISPs)—the companies which connect your home to the internet—cannot block or slow down your connection to some sites and give preference to others.
Net neutrality protects a level playing field for all internet users and publishers by requiring ISPs to treat all internet traffic without preference. Unfortunately, these protections are under attack by the telecommunications lobby and, of course, Donald Trump. original article...
With that out of the way, here are the hard facts about Net Neutrality (and the attempts at its repeal), courtesy of Nutt.io. (The following figures were produced by Nutt.io.)
- In 2017, there were 5.09 million comments made to the FCC about Net Neutrality.
- Of the comments submitted to the FCC, 99.3% were about Net Neutrality.
- The biggest spenders against Net Neutrality are (unsurprisingly) members of the Telecommunications industry: Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and NCTA (National Cable and Television Association).
- On the opposite end of the fight, large tech companies have taken up the cause of defending Net Neutrality. Among the largest contributors to the cause are Google, Amazon, Netflix, and Microsoft.
- 60% of Americans support Net Neutrality, while only 17% oppose it. The other 23% haven't made up their minds.
- This support isn't along party lines. Instead, it's relatively bipartisan.
Now equipped with this information, it's possible to formulate responses to statements opposing Net Neutrality.
Even after searching Twitter for nearly an hour, though, I had difficulty finding any arguments against Net Neutrality by verified users that didn't boil down to 'regulation is bad.' The opposition's argument can be distilled into one tweet by Senator John Cornyn:
Net neutrality is misnamed. It is government regulation. Why not let the market work?
The simple rebuttal is that when it comes to internet services providers, there isn't any market: most Americans have no choice between ISPs. Monopoly is the enemy of the market. Therefore, it is necessary for the government to regulate the providers to ensure that they aren't exploited by their internet service providers. (No, it isn't pure Friedman economics—but what is?)
Information is sacred. Help protect Net Neutrality. Join the Battle for the Net.