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Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Websites and Organizations Protest to Maintain Internet Neutrality

About 80,000 websites and organizations on Wednesday are taking part in a day of protest on Donald Trump's rollback of the net neutrality rules.

The idea is to speak out against the Republican-dominated FCC's plan to roll back Obama-era Open Internet rules, the strongest net neutrality rules to date. Companies participating today, including Amazon.com, Alphabet, Twitter and Facebook, are encouraging users to take action.

The Obama rules were supposed to end the debate over net neutrality - the concept that internet providers can't give preferential treatment to certain types of traffic traveling over their networks. But it frustrated internet providers like Comcast, and Verizon Communications, whose trade organization unsuccessfully challenged the rules in court.

The changes are being proposed by the head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commision, Ajit Pai, appointed by President Donald Trump in January. The public will have until mid-August to send comments to the FCC before the final vote.

In support of the "Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality," websites are displaying alerts, ads and short videos to urge the public to oppose the overturn of the landmark 2015 net neutrality rules.

Internet provider AT&T also joined the big protest even though the wireless giant in the past has disagreed with staunch net neutrality advocates over how to enforce it.

Social platform Reddit, one of the top ten most popular websites on the internet, animated a message to its users before allowing them to access the homepage. It read, in part, "The internet's less fun when your favorite sites load slowly, isn't it? Whether you're here for news, AMAs, or some good old-fashioned cats in business attire, the internet's at its best when you--not internet service providers--decide what you see online."

Netflix topped its landing page with a gray bar, featuring a static loading wheel and a simple message: "Protect Internet Freedom. Defend Net Neutrality. Take Action." The last sentence linked to the Internet Association's Day of Action site.

Today's protests are unlikely to make much of a difference to the FCC.

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