On Tuesday the FCC released a plan to repeal the measures put in place during the Obama administration designed to ensure equal access to the Internet.
This would clear the path for Internet companies such as AT&T and Verizon to charge Internet users higher premiums for access to certain sites such as Netflix. These companies could then also provide “fast lane” service to companies they are friendly with or own, practically bottlenecking the Internet.
This doesn’t just affect websites such as Netflix, Google, YouTube, neither does it just affect your comfort on the Internet, it will irreversibly affect where you get your news, how news is shared, what is covered in the news and it could very well potentially kill Journalism.
That’s a scary thought, isn’t it? Since the 2016 election, Journalists and startup news organizations such as the one you’re reading this on has been at the forefront of fighting fake news, that same fake news which directly affected the election results, that fake news which is partly responsible for the hatred which divides America’s political landscape to this day.
Let’s take this article, for example, this article goes up, generates a lot of views, this article which directly goes against the Agenda AT&T, Verizon and more are pushing. These companies can then decide to bottle the traffic to this website by slowing down they’re subscribers connection to this server, now MBFC can rectify this by paying a fee, a large fee to get into the ‘fast lane’ or the fee can fall on you, the reader, these companies can ensure that only a few websites are included in your package deal.
With the protection of net neutrality out of the way, these massive companies can completely abuse their power by blocking access to any and all sites that support the freedom of the Internet, the freedom to equal access to the Internet, the freedom to not be discriminated against by price.
Furthermore considering the current administrations often radical positions, it’s not crazy to imagine the Trump administration would abuse this power, working with these companies to ensure that only sites that publish approvingly of the Trump administration get access at the lowest price tier. Imagine now for one second that your internet package only includes access to Breitbart, Fox News, and email and you are met with a pay-wall anytime you want to access another site.
For sites such as CNN, Politifact, Snopes and Vox you may have to pay a much larger fee, a fee you may not be able to afford. This has the potential to completely kill off Journalism on the Internet, making it a propaganda puppet to the Trump administration and massive ISP companies, Journalism as we know it will be dead.
The only people who will benefit from this are propaganda news sites such as Breitbart and ISP companies, not you, not me, not any regular citizen no matter where you fall on the political spectrum will benefit from this, as with the majority of this administrations policies it will simply work to deepen the divide in American politics, skew the opinion, completely eradicate true online Journalism and make us all slaves to fake news.
No longer will you be able to fact-check what the President says, instead you will be met with a hefty paywall, instead you may only be able to visit pre-approved Trump supporting websites, it is not crazy to imagine the current administration or any administration abusing this power and reaching a deal with ISP’s to only include government approved websites in their most basic, most popular package.
I’m not American and I don’t live in America, I live in Europe, but this will affect me and everyone else. America’s influence is not something to be taken lightly, what America does, the World tends to follow, so I encourage everyone to save the Internet for all of us. It’s up to you, you have done it before, it can be done again.
I encourage anyone who reads to sign up with this and share this link, we have three weeks to save the Internet and Journalism as we know it. Do the right thing.
By Aaron O’Leary – Media Bias Fact Check