By Alix Xavier
Sorry, that was just the money hungry billionaires talking.
Ever since its invention, the internet has been an integral part of life. From sharing vital information about pressing news stories, or seeing what “important educational” video your uncle sent on Whatsapp this time, the internet has been an invention that has taken humans by storm. One reason that many people have utilized the internet is that it’s free for everyone. You can do whatever, and no one can squash your internet, which is something rare with traditional media, where only people with big money and companies have the freedom to have the say in what gets made and shown. To people, the internet is a breath of fresh air from the monopolies of traditional media, and is a chance for them to express themselves.
But now, that freedom is at risk.
On December 14, 2017, the FCC in the United States, the bosses on anything internet, decided to pull the plug on Net Neutrality, sending the nation into uproar.
If you haven’t heard, Net Neutrality is a law stating that large corporations can’t manipulate your internet speed, or block certain apps and websites in the interest of charging you extra. Something that millionaires want gone, but something citizens of America desperately want to stay.
You may be asking right now “Wait, didn’t you say that this was in America? Why are you so mad then? It’s not affecting you, right?”
That, my dear reader, is where you are wrong.
The abolishment of Net Neutrality will not only affect the US, but to the rest of the world as well.
Have you ever thought about how different things would be if Facebook or Instagram would have been created now?
Well good luck, because with recent rulings, they would have never even existed.
Why? Well, thanks to our “good old pals” at the FCC, internet providers can prioritize huge established platforms over indie projects and businesses. This dissuades people from creating new ideas, preventing new platforms like Twitter or Youtube from seeing the light of day. The ones that currently exist will be regulated, costing extra to access, diminishing the amount of people on these platforms. Also, this prevents content creators from uploading what they want, not only restricting creativity, but in some cases, hurting business and profits they make. Likewise, it could also block a chunk of their audience from seeing their content, further hurting them. And let’s not gloss over the loss in enjoyment that people will get when they’ve been deprived of their content due to internet restrictions, and the communities online they interact in.
Additionally, the US is a role model for nations, so with them repealing Net Neutrality, many countries, such as China, may justify in continuing their obstruction of it, and other nations may start to restrict their people’s access as well, further showing the devastating effects Net Neutrality can have worldwide.
Considering that 2.46 billion of the world’s population use social media, these repercussions of the repeal are shining through.
In short, the global impact of Net Neutrality gone is present. Now, in a time that schools and jobs are becoming more technologically dependent, lives are at risk. But now is a time to resist. To quote New York General Attorney Eric Schneiderman, “We can’t stand by and watch one of the greatest tools for democracy ever created get turned into a private playground.”
Make sure that no one takes away our freedom online.
Make sure that our tech filled lives remain peaceful.
Make sure that we’re not disconnected by the people we’ve trusted to connect us in the first place.
- All products require an annual contract. Prices do not include sales tax (New York residents only). “Global Social Media Ranking 2018 | Statistic.” Statista, http://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users/.
- “The Effects of Ending Net Neutrality.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 15 Dec. 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/15/opinion/fcc-net-neutrality.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FNet%2BNeutrality&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=10&pgtype=collection.
- Haselton, Todd. “New York Attorney General Will Sue to Stop the FCC’s ‘Illegal Rollback of Net Neutrality’.” CNBC, CNBC, 14 Dec. 2017, http://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/14/new-york-attorney-general-schneiderman-will-sue-over-net-neutrality.html.
- Hong, Emily, and Sarah Morris. “Net Neutrality Opponents Have No Argument.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2018. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/ZPRAXS939720978/OVIC?u=60iskl&xid=de25a677. Accessed 26 Feb. 2018. Originally published as “Thanks to a federal appeals court, the open internet is safe,” New America, 16 June 2016.
- Kang, Cecilia. “What’s Next After the Repeal of Net Neutrality.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 15 Dec. 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/15/technology/net-neutrality-repeal.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FNet%2BNeutrality&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=9&pgtype=collection.
- “Net Neutrality.” Public Knowledge, http://www.publicknowledge.org/issues/net-neutrality.