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Matthew Chapman @fawfulfan
, 15 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter

I want to discuss #NetNeutrality at length, and why you should be scared.

Let’s discuss what losing this regulation would mean, and what it wouldn’t mean.
1/ You’ve probably heard the basics by now. #NetNeutrality states that internet providers must treat all data equally. That access to the Internet means access to the WHOLE Internet.

If we lose that, what happens?
2/ A lot of people are worried that it would result in widespread censorship of content, or cable-style pricing packages for websites, as in this popular graphic:
3/ But scenarios this extreme are unlikely, for one key reason: liability.

The D.C. Circuit ruled in RIAA v. Verizon that ISPs aren’t liable for illegal content on their sites — but only as long as they are neutral conduits for information.
4/ That means even without net neutrality, the more ISPs curate content, the more they open themselves up to lawsuits for illegal things they failed to block, like pirated music.
5/ BUT! Do not relax. That does not mean the Internet as we know it is safe.

There are plenty of other ways that ISPs can mess with the Internet short of outright China-style censorship or cable-like package pricing.
6/ The most likely immediate effect of repealing #NetNeutrality would be ISPs manipulating broadband for companies offering a competing service, or companies they are involved in contract negotiations with.
7/ So for example, Comcast could slow down speed for Netflix and force subscribers to use Comcast’s own on-demand service (which has less content and higher prices). They actually tried to do this a few years ago.
8/ Or an ISP could manipulate broadband for a labor union while trying to bargain with them (this happened in Canada recently).
9/ And even non-neutral pricing models that have no political motivation could have deeply damaging political effects. Suppose, for example, that ISPs charge a fee to news organizations to speed up their service.
10/ Entrenched, large orgs like @CNN, @FoxNews, @nytimes, @WSJ could all afford that. Smaller, independent or local journalism outfits couldn’t. So there would be a chilling effect on independent investigative reporting.
11/ If ISPs steam big media companies faster than little ones, Google/Facebook algorithms would lower the little ones and search engines would give them less traffic. It’s already hard enough for local papers. This could be a death blow to some of them.
12/ The same applies to any small web-based business or merchant that wants to sell or get contracts online. If they can’t afford the fast lane tolls, they’ll get pushed down the search results and out of business. Big companies will get bigger.
13/ So to sum up: without #NetNeutrality, outright censorship is unlikely, but price discrimination schemes that weaken contract rights and hurt small-time web businesses and content producers are all but certain.

We need a free and open Internet. Fight for it tooth and nail.
14/ If you want to do something about this, there’s still time to contact the @FCC and tell them all this.

Go to, click “Express” and leave a public comment in support of #NetNeutrality.

The future of the economy and the media depends on it.

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