Facebook, Google to join net neutrality demonstration

Facebook, Google to join net neutrality demonstration
© Greg Nash

Facebook and Google will be joining a mass online demonstration in support of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rules, spokespeople for the companies confirmed to The Hill.

The two internet giants join dozens of other companies and activist groups planning to rally grassroots support next week for the regulations, which require internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally.

They had been conspicuously quiet as Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has launched proceedings to repeal the protections, arguing that the agency overstepped under the Obama administration by reclassifying internet service providers as common carriers.

“We have not heard directly from either Facebook or Google, but we’re glad to hear that these companies are listening to their employees and Internet users and will speak out for net neutrality with the rest of the Internet on July 12,” Evan Greer, campaign director at Fight for the Future and an organizer for the event, said in a statement.

“In previous years these companies have often been on the sidelines of these fights, so we hope that they plan to do something meaningful in the spirit of the protest and educate their users about what’s at stake if we lose net neutrality protections that protect our online free speech, and give them opportunities to take action.”

Facebook and Google didn’t provide details on what their involvement during the “day of action” would entail, but activists are likely to see their involvement as a major boost to the demonstration.

Other groups that have signed on to the event include Twitter, the American Civil Liberties Union, Amazon, Netflix and Public Knowledge.