Internet Association blasts net neutrality group over ad campaign

Internet Association blasts net neutrality group over ad campaign
© Greg Nash

The Internet Association, a trade group representing internet companies, lashed out at a pro-net neutrality group on Tuesday for initially saying that they planned to go after Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) with billboard attack ads.

Fight for the Future announced on Tuesday that it planned to launch a billboard campaign targeting lawmakers who have spoken in favor of the Federal Communications Commission’s effort to repeal its net neutrality rules.

Evan Greer, the group’s spokeswoman, sent a list of lawmakers to The Hill that would be targeted by the billboard. Scalise, who is currently recovering from a gunshot wound inflicted during an attack on lawmakers last month, was included on that list.

Greer has since clarified that the Louisiana Republican’s name was mistakenly added and that the group has no plans to launch ads against him.

But the Internet Association, which has largely been on the same side of the net neutrality fight, took issue with Fight for the Future’s announcement.

“Fight for the Future’s latest efforts on net neutrality are unacceptable,” said Michael Beckerman, the trade group’s president. “Accusing a Member of Congress of ‘betrayal’ while he’s recovering in the hospital is despicable. This type of advocacy is not what Internet Association and our member companies stand for.”

“The IA statement is based on an incorrect report,” Greer countered. “Rep Scalise’s name was included in private emails to two reporters, due to a copy paste error, and corrected once brought to our attention. We would obviously not run billboards against somebody who is in the hospital.”

The Internet Association did not immediately respond when asked to follow up on Greer’s statement.

Another issue the sides are clashing over is how to preserve net neutrality. The Internet Association has said that they would work with Congress to enact legislation, while Fight for the Future believes that any net neutrality bill would be a watered-down substitute of the FCC protections that are already in place.