The High Stakes for Net Neutrality

Friday, 1 December 2017

Earlier this year we shared why Twitter, as a company, strongly supports Net Neutrality. It’s critical to enabling free expression, fostering innovation, enhancing public safety, and maintaining U.S. global leadership on Internet issues. This summer, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced its plan to roll back Net Neutrality protections and solicited feedback from the American people about its proposal. The public opposition has been overwhelming, and Twitter joined millions of people in urging the FCC to rethink its plan.

If approved, Chairman Pai’s proposal will gut Net Neutrality, removing the FCC’s current rules preventing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from blocking content, slowing down Internet speeds, and engaging in “paid prioritization” -- the development of discriminatory fast & slow lanes on the Internet with gratuitous new fees.

In today’s Internet economy, a rollback of Net Neutrality means businesses and startups that operate online or use platforms like Twitter to reach customers would be at the mercy of ISPs for vital communication exchanges.

For the millions of people who use Twitter to share their thoughts, start movements, speak truth to power, or find out what’s happening in the world, the lack of strong Net Neutrality rules means ISPs have the final word when it comes to the openness of the Internet.

We’ve seen robust public engagement - from diverse perspectives - around this issue on Twitter, including:

  • 3.5 million Tweets in the past month on #NetNeutrality
  • 2.5 million Tweets about #NetNeutrality since Chairman Pai unveiled the details of his proposal last Tuesday
  • Half a million Tweets on the #NetNeutrality Day of Action in July 2017

According to multiple polls, Americans across the political spectrum support Net Neutrality. As a federal agency, it’s the FCC’s job to represent the public interest and consumers, the overwhelming majority of whom want strong Net Neutrality rules.

Earlier this week, FCC Chairman Pai attempted to distract people away from the serious defects of his proposal by taking swipes at Twitter that were misleading. Given the serious deficiencies of the Chairman’s plan, his tactics to distract people from it are understandable.  The truth is we are impartial and believe strongly in impartiality. The Twitter platform doesn’t take sides.  Diverse perspectives are present every day and treated equally so users can see every side.  And the Twitter Rules apply to everyone equally.  We note that the Chairman uses Twitter and liberally quoted Tweets in his recent speech.  His voice and perspective are important and his presence on Twitter is most welcome.  We hope he will revert to substantive discussions regarding the impact of his plan.  

As a global platform, we’ve seen what happens when governments take steps to artificially constrain consumer choice and throttle innovation online. Today, it’s undeniable that the majority of Americans want strong Net Neutrality rules and understand the serious negative impact the Chairman’s proposal will have for an open Internet.  Twitter will continue to fight for an open Internet for all.  

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