Dismay boiled over social media after the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality rules.
In a 3-2 vote, commissioners moved to scrap 2015 regulations that barred internet service providers from sorting customers into different tiers.
While commissioners in favour called the rules cumbersome and said they obstructed innovation, the widely anticipated move had for weeks drawn outrage from people who warned that commissioners would allow providers to control how users experience the internet by slowing or halting service.
Elected officials who had opposed the change weighed in, including a Congressman representing Silicon Valley, and multiple members of Congress said they would offer legislation to reverse the FCC. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called the move “illegal” and vowed to sue, presaging what will likely be a number of legal challenges.
Today, the FCC voted to end #NetNeutrality, the foundation of the open internet that we use everyday. They listened to large corporations and their lobbyists over the needs and concerns of everyday Americans. We must fight to undo the damage by passing even stronger regulations.
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) December 14, 2017
Four massive telecom corporations—Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and Charter—control 76% of broadband access, and lobbied heavily to repeal #NetNeutrality. This isn’t over. We can’t let giant monopolies get away with taking away our freedoms for their own profit. https://t.co/rSnOVXjqkz
— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) December 14, 2017
I will sue to stop the FCC’s illegal rollback of #netneutrality. New Yorkers and all Americans deserve a free and open internet. pic.twitter.com/BNW7TDsp4z
— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) December 14, 2017
Today’s ruling by the FCC is dangerous. The internet must remain free and open to all.
New York will take all necessary steps to protect #NetNeutrality.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) December 14, 2017
So too did companies, like Netflix, whose service is founded on swift internet access.
We’re disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity & civic engagement. This is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix stands w/ innovators, large & small, to oppose this misguided FCC order.
— Netflix US (@netflix) December 14, 2017
Advocacy organisations that had fought the move issued calls to organize, saying the fight should shift to persuading Congress to enact new rules.
Congress has the power to reverse the FCC’s regulation dismantling net neutrality protections. Add your name now to protect our free, fair, and open internet. #NetNeutrality https://t.co/uJyZKuUFi8
— ACLU (@ACLU) December 14, 2017
The @FCC just voted to kill #NetNeutrality. BUT the fight isn’t over.
Congress can #StopTheFCC and overrule their vote using the Congressional Review Act. We need each and every one of us to keep the pressure on Congress. Here’s how: https://t.co/5xkDeFuR4a pic.twitter.com/XRlj9mCHdL
— Women’s March (@womensmarch) December 14, 2017
The vote unleashed a flood of tweets decrying the vote. Some users warned that a scarcity of service providers where they lived would mean they were at the mercy of newly empowered corporations.
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Others played on the notion that the move would mean degraded service for people who could not afford a faster option.
#NetNeutrality repealed. Elections have conseq–
**Please pay $5.99 to your ISP for the remainder of this tweet.**
— Matt Ortega (@MattOrtega) December 14, 2017
USA should change “land of the free” in their anthem to “land of the 49.99$ internet package” lmao #NetNeutrality
— depressed ram (@Bout2BeatMyMete) December 14, 2017
Those concerns echoed the warnings of the two FCC commissioners who opposed the move, warning it would give service providers sweeping authority to determine who sees what online.
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel issued a call to action, saying “this is not over” and urging people to continue “raising a ruckus”.
The @FCC voted to roll back #NetNeutality today. History will not be kind to this vote to destroy Internet openness. But this is not over. I’m not stopping here or now–and neither should you. Let’s keep up the fight. Let’s keep raising a ruckus. The future depends on it.
— Jessica Rosenworcel (@JRosenworcel) December 14, 2017
The White House backed the change, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying the administration supports the “effort to roll back burdensome regulations.effort to roll back burdensome regulations”.
.@PressSec on #NetNeutrality decision: “The Trump administration supports the FCC’s effort to roll back burdensome regulations.” https://t.co/TivFofWjWB pic.twitter.com/bzWLHI4ueK
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 14, 2017
Because presidents have the power to appoint FCC commissioners, the agency tends to vote along partisan lines. Donald Trump elevated Ajit Pai, who championed the net neutrality rollback, to his current role as the panel’s chairman.