By Amy Kroin, Free Press
The July 12 Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality was a mammoth deal. So many people, organizations and companies took part via our site BattleforTheNet.com that we’re still scrambling to document everything.
But one thing is clear: No one — except the big broadband providers and their assorted lobbyists and trade groups — likes the Trump FCC’s plan to destroy the internet.
Here’s what we know so far about what happened on July 12:
- Tens of millions of people saw the protest messages on participating websites.
- More than 5 million people sent emails to Congress.
- More than 2 million people sent comments to the FCC — nearly tripling our 2014 “Internet Slowdown” record for most submitted in a single day.
- People placed more than 124,000 calls to their members of Congress.
- At least 125,000 websites, people, activists, online creators and organizations signed up to participate.
- Companies including Airbnb, Amazon, CREDO, eBay, Etsy, Expedia, Facebook, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Netflix, OKCupid, reddit, Soundcloud, Spotify, Tinder, Twitter, Vimeo and Yelp displayed messages on their sites and platforms urging users to take action.
- #NetNeutrality trended on both Facebook and Twitter.
- So many people participated that the FCC was forced to “rate limit” submissions into its docket — an enormous number of comments are queued up that will be submitted to its system before the agency’s July 17 initial comment deadline.
- The same holds true for emails to Congress, which will be delivered in the days to come.
Though much of the press has focused on the companies that participated, this was a truly grassroots effort. Free Press Action Fund organized the day of action alongside our allies at Demand Progress and Fight for the Future, and many other advocacy groups participated, including the ACLU, the American Library Association, the Center for Media Justice, Color Of Change, Common Cause, Creative Commons, EFF, Greenpeace, NARAL, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, New America, Public Knowledge, Rock the Vote and the Women’s March.
Groups connected the fight to save Net Neutrality to their particular missions — because you can’t fight for racial justice, reproductive rights, voting rights or anything else without a free and open internet.
Yesterday was amazing — but it’s just the beginning. We’re teaming up with our Battle for the Net partners to train and mobilize volunteers to take this fight outside Washington. This will give thousands of new volunteers more meaningful ways to engage and lead their own actions and campaigns.
At the same time, our policy team is hard at work building the legal case against the FCC’s plan to undermine the Net Neutrality protections. Next week we’ll file our first round of comments, which include new research and legal analysis that dismantles FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s destructive proposal.
Pai is determined to overturn the Net Neutrality protections that are so essential to preserving free speech and choice online. But we’re building an undeniable public and legal record that shows how out of touch he is with what millions of people of all political stripes want and expect of the internet.
As Free Press Action Fund President and CEO Craig Aaron said outside the Capitol yesterday: “We have the facts on our side, the law on our side and the people on our side. We definitely have the internet on our side — and that’s why I’m so confident we’ll win.”
If you missed the day of action there’s still time to speak out: The initial FCC comment period ends on July 17, but people can continue to send input to the agency up until it schedules a vote, expected later this year. A sizable majority of the comments already submitted in the current proceeding support preserving the Title II Net Neutrality rules.