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Ajit Pai tries to meme his way out of net neutrality repeal backlash, fails
You have to see it to believe it.
The FCC plans to rescind the 2015 Open Internet Order, which codified net neutrality rules, ensuring that all internet traffic must be treated equally. Critics of the plan say it will open the floodgates for internet service providers (ISPs) to “slow down” or “speed up” certain internet traffic or block legal content.
Nevertheless, as the vote nears, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, an appointee of President Donald Trump, attempted to mock the critics of his plan with a video. Meanwhile, the agency’s own chief technology officer expressed concern over the plan.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Pai stars in a really weird video: Pai has argued that his plan to dismantle net neutrality rules will bring about more innovation and decided to try and calm the fears of his critics in a video uploaded to the far-right website The Daily Caller. The video, called “7 Things You Can Still Do On The Internet After Net Neutrality,” is essentially Pai acting out a series of things he claims won’t be impacted without net neutrality protection. You shouldn’t fear his plan, he argues because you’ll still be able to:
- “Gram” your food
- Post photos of “cute animals, like puppies,”
- Shop for “Christmas presents,”
- “Binge-watch your favorite shows”
- Stay a part of your “favorite fan community”
- “Drive memes right into the ground”
- The FCC’s CTO isn’t big on Pai’s plan: While Pai was starring in a bizarre web video, the FCC’s CTO Eric Burger sent an email to all of the agency’s commissioner offices that acknowledges that the fear of an ISP blocking or slowing down websites is not addressed in the plan to replace net neutrality rules, Politico reports. “Unfortunately, I realize we do not address that at all,” Burger said in the email. “If the ISP is transparent about blocking legal content, there is nothing the [Federal Trade Commission] can do about it unless the FTC determines it was done for anti-competitive reasons. Allowing such blocking is not in the public interest.”
- Fake comments are (still) concerning: On Wednesday 18 attorneys general called on the FCC to postpone today’s vote pending an investigation into the suspected fake comments left on the agency’s website earlier this year. The letter asks Pai to take “immediate action” about the comments and says public information shows “a pattern of fake submissions using the names of real people.” The letter comes after members of the Senate asked the FCC to do the same thing, to which the FCC responded by calling them “desperate.”
- One bro is promising to change his name: It seems unlikely that the FCC will vote to save net neutrality, but if they do, the world will be graced with a man named ‘Lit Fam.’
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).