An obituary for net neutrality (2015-17)

Net neutrality is dead, and Ajit Pai killed it. In a 3-2 vote — amid a bomb scare, and Republican opp

The Interface

December 14 · Issue #47 · View online
An evening newsletter about Facebook, social networks, and democracy.

Net neutrality is dead, and Ajit Pai killed it. In a 3-2 vote — amid a bomb scare, and Republican opposition, and a misspelled hashtag campaign, and a complaint from the Federal Communications Commission’s chief technology officer, and 2 million comments based on stolen identities, and half a million from Russian addresses — the FCC repealed the regulations it had enacted, just two years ago, under President Obama. The repeal will serve primarily to empower our current internet giants at the expense of smaller, scrappier companies, who may be less competitive in a world where they can be blocked, throttled, or charged access to paid fast lanes. It’s good news — at least in the abstract — for Facebook and Google; it’s bad news for HQ Trivia.
I’m not going to opine at length on this; I’ve opined before, and you’ll find many good takes below. (Also a bad take, from Ajit Pai!) In the meantime, supporters of a free and open internet should take heart that today’s decision is already the subject of many, many lawsuits. Net neutrality may have flatlined, but lawmakers and state attorneys general may bring it back to life.
In the meantime, though, it’s time to start thinking about the consequences of it remaining dead. I leave you with a piece from my colleague TC Sottek on the intersection between Disney, net neutrality, and the new internet:
Here are some obvious conflicts that have already resulted from the Disney merger:
- Disney now has a controlling stake in Hulu
- Hulu was a joint effort between Comcast and Time Warner to compete with YouTube; Comcast and Time Warner are now minority stakeholders in Hulu
- Comcast owns NBCUniversal, which broadcasts shows on Hulu
- Time Warner is about to be owned by AT&T, which is a competitor of Comcast
- Time Warner is a competitor of both NBC and Disney
- Comcast and AT&T control the network that people use to watch content from Disney, Time Warner, and NBC
- (This is just a fun place to put this disclosure: Comcast’s NBCU division is a minority investor in Vox Media, which owns The Verge.)
If this all sounds confusing to you, that’s because it’s confusing. In this world of mergers and overlapping conglomerates, the internet will be a pawn between companies that want to sell you television.
This is not the internet most of us want.

Tech companies react to the FCC killing net neutrality
Twitter's response to Brexit interference inquiry inadequate, MP says
Net giants 'must pay for news' from which they make billions
Play this parkour game about net neutrality
Grindr and Tinder: the disruptive influence of apps on gay bars
Snap releases Lens Studio, a tool for creating your own AR effects
Facebook will launch pre-roll video ads in 2018
Click-to-WhatsApp messaging buttons are now rolling out in Facebook ads
Facebook Is Testing A Way To Easily Switch Between Multiple Accounts
Sheryl Sandberg is not happy with the FCC
Ajit Pai just handed Republicans a bag of shit
Read the dissenting statements of the Democratic FCC commissioners slamming net neutrality repeal
Read FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s statement on killing net neutrality
And finally ...
Five Times the Internet Was Actually Fun in 2017
Talk to me
Questions? Comments? Suggested zero-rating schemes? 
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Carefully curated by Casey Newton with Revue.
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