When I heard that FCC chairman Ajit Pai was gunning to dismantle Net Neutrality rules, I just sighed. I was so, so tired. I thought about what I would be losing if my phone and internet providers tried to slow down my connection or charge me to access Facebook or Twitter. No more fights with my conservative family members? No more being called an ugly liar by strangers? The cynical, dried up, exhausted part of my brain thought, “Great, take it. I don’t have the energy to care anymore.” Because seriously, who does? Who has any outrage left for anything? Trump gets crazier by the day, his followers get even crazier, and where does that leave us?
All through the Thanksgiving weekend, everyone on my feed was freaking out about Net Neutrality, sharing scary infographics, and screaming at each other in all caps to call their senators. At one point I thought, what’s the use? They’ve already been flooded with comments in support of Net Neutrality, and they’re bringing it to a vote anyway. These people are accountable to nothing and no one.
But—this is lazy, privileged thinking. I’d love to sit this one out, but we just can’t. That’s how they win. They’re banking on us being too exhausted to fight. So, here are the details on how they’re trying to screw us, and what we can do about it.
What Happens Without Net Neutrality?
Here’s some information taken from Save the Internet by Freepress on what would happen if Net Neutrality were repealed: “Unlike the open internet that has paved the way for so much innovation and given a platform to people who have historically been shut out, it would become a closed-down network where cable and phone companies call the shots and decide which websites, content or applications succeed.
This would have an enormous impact. Companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon would be able to decide who is heard and who isn’t. They’d be able to block websites or content they don’t like or applications that compete with their own offerings.”
I don’t need to tell you why that’s bad. Online political fuckery likely cost us one election—imagine if every big service provider had carte blanche to only show you the political stories and hot takes they agreed with from now on.
Not to mention how this would screw over folks who are already marginalized. Even for something as simple as Tumblr, which has been a safe haven for LGBTQ content and creators—I wonder what will happen to all of those kids if you suddenly had to pay to access the site. Where would they go?
What Can We Do?
The FCC is expected to vote along party lines, with three out of five sitting Republicans who, of course, have major hard-ons for dismantling the internet and undermining democracy even more than their party has done thus far. The name of the game now is contacting your local senators. I know, I know, I’m sick of leaving voicemails too, but we’ve got to suck this one up and take it for the team, or this platform from which I’m speaking to you now may no longer even exist this time next year.
If I stopped being lazy long enough to call my senators (again,) you can too.