Facebook and Google have decided to participate in the ‘Internet-wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality’ protest scheduled for July 12 in the US. Being organised by advocacy groups Fight for the Future, Free Press, and Demand Progress, the ‘Day of Action’ has already received support from Amazon, Netflix and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), among others. “The protest is being organised against the US Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) recent regulatory behaviour (or lack thereof) that open internet advocates fear could roll back years of legislative progress,” Fortune reported on Saturday.
“The participation of Google and Facebook could be a game-changer because their sites are visited by hundreds of millions and a message from them could rally new opposition to the FCC plan,” the report added. The July 12 campaign is reminiscent of another day in 2012 when the tech industry rebelled against a controversial copyright bill known as SOPA by altering or even blacking out their websites. The resulting uproar resulted in Congress withdrawing the bill, the report noted.
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President Donald Trump had appointed India-origin Ajit Pai to head the powerful FCC, the US communications regulatory agency. The advocacy groups are urging tech companies and others to oppose Pai’s plan to gut the net neutrality order which was issued in 2015. It reclassifies broadband as a utility service and imposed several common carrier regulations — including prohibitions on throttling or blocking content and on charging companies higher fees for prioritised delivery.