Press Release: Net neutrality activists park truck with giant video billboard directly across from FCC building in Washington, DC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15th, 2014

Media Contact:
Ted Worcester, Namecheap

Phone: 508-952-0110
Email:
ted@namecheap.com

Evan Greer, Fight for the Future
Phone: 978-852-6457
Email:
press@fightforthefuture.org

Net neutrality activists set up giant video billboard outside the FCC

Domain registrar Namecheap and #InternetSlowdown organizers Fight for the Future have parked a truck with an 11’ video billboard directly across from the FCC building in Washington, DC. Title II supporters will play a steady stream of net neutrality videos sent from Internet users around the world. The billboard will remain through the FCC’s comment deadline tonight and during their Roundtable hearings on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON— Building off the momentum of last week’s record-breaking Internet Slowdown protest, net neutrality supporters have obtained a permit to park a truck with a roof-mounted 11’ wide video billboard directly outside FCC headquarters in Washington, DC. The billboard will be playing a stream of net neutrality related videos sent in from the Internet, including videos from today’s net neutrality rallies in NYC, Philadelphia, and Chicago, and webcam appeals from Internet users everywhere explaining why net neutrality matters to them.

Fight for the Future has posted an appeal for Internet users to submit videos to play on the billboard here: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/97569336053/fight-for-the-future-and-namecheap-have-parked-a-truck

Scroll to the bottom of this release for some initial photos. More photos will be available soon, some high-res photos available here.

The billboard action is supported by Fight for the Future, but is being coordinated by domain registrar Namecheap, who participated in the Internet Slowdown, and have released their own viral video to educate the Internet public about what’s at stake in the fight for net neutrality. Internet Slowdown organizers Free Press are also supporting the action, and are coordinating a gathering outside the FCC on Sept 16th at 11:45am.

“Washington DC is worlds away from the vast majority of Internet users who would suffer from the FCC’s current proposal,” said Ted Worcester, Head of Product at Namecheap, who is camped out with a laptop running the video billboard across the street from the agency’s headquarters, “The video billboard helps give more people a way to get their message right in front of the FCC. Thanks to the open Internet, its easy for people to send us videos about why net neutrality matters to them.”

“The FCC is in a pretty lonely part of Washington DC,” said Holmes Wilson, co-founder of Fight for the Future, “Hopefully this video billboard will help brighten things up– with the voices of millions of people who are passionate about keeping the Internet free.”

“Advocacy groups have been calling for months for the FCC to get out of Washington DC to hear from the public before they make a decision that would allow for discrimination on the Internet,” said Evan Greer, Campaign Director of Fight for the Future, who helped coordinate the billboard effort, “If the FCC won’t go to the people, we’ll bring the people to the FCC, projected larger than life on a billboard that can’t be ignored. They need to get the message that we’re not going away — it’s Title II or bust.”

The action on the 16th is supported by Fight for the Future, Namecheap, Free Press, Demand Progress, and Popular Resistance. Fight for the Future, Free Press, and Demand Progress all contributed to organizing the Battle for the Net Internet Slowdown, in which over 40,000 websites (including huge sites like Reddit, Namecheap, Netflix, Etsy, Vimeo, Mozilla and many more) ran prominent warnings of an impending slowdown of Internet speeds if the FCC ends net neutrality. During the protest, Internet users made over 760,000 comments to the FCC and over 300,000 phone calls to Congress (See: Infographic: the Internet Slowdown in Numbers and Screenshots).

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See below for some more great photos. More coming soon! Press inquiries contact press@fightforthefuture.org or call 978-852-6457.

Crowd gathering outside the FCC right now as the billboard attracts attention from press, passersby, and FCC employees.

Senator Ron Wyden sent a video to be played on the screen in support of net neutrality through Title II reclassification.

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9:30am the billboard is up and playing a video of Lawrence Lessig explaining the importance of Title II reclassification.

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Folks from Namecheap are there with flyers to talk to FCC employees and pedestrians about why the Internet cares so much about net neutrality.

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The billboard directly faces the FCC’s headquarters, and FCC employees can be seen looking down from the windows. Impossible to ignore.

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The billboard will play a steady stream of videos in support of Title II net neutrality. Internet users are encouraged to submit videos to play on the billboard through this form.

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An FCC employee stops to take a picture of the giant billboard.

Photo credits: Namecheap team. These photos are available for use by press.

247 notes

Fight for the Future and Namecheap have parked a truck with a giant video billboard directly across the street from the FCC!

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This just in! We’ve teamed up with our friends at domain registrar Namecheap to bring the overwhelming public outcry for real net neutrality protections directly to the agency’s doorstep.

As the hours count down to the FCC’s net neutrality comment deadline, we have obtained a permit to park a truck with a giant video billboard on top directly across the street from the FCC facing the agency’s headquarters! It’s amazing! We’re attracting tons of attention already.

Got something to say to the FCC? Send us a link to your video and we’ll play it on the billboard!

Are you in Washington, DC? Join us, Free Press, and Popular Resistance on Tuesday, September 16th as we gather near the billboard to call for the FCC to get out of DC and listen to the public! More info here. 

We’ll be here until the end of the day Tuesday playing a steady stream of videos about net neutrality. The FCC needs to hear from everyone — but not everyone can make it to DC to speak out. The billboard gives us all a platform from which to speak, just like the free and open Internet!

Internet, send us your videos! Take a short 1-2 minute video of yourself explaining why net neutrality matters to you, and we’ll play it on the billboard for Tom Wheeler and everyone at the FCC. Use the form below to submit your video or email it directly to ted@namecheap.com with the subject line “Billboard submission.”

Need some inspiration for what your net neutrality video should be like? Check out this awesome video that Namecheap made! They’ll be playing it once an hour to make sure the FCC gets the message.

Namecheap gets that Internet Freedom isn’t just a good idea, it’s a critical fight for the future of the entire web. Not only are they making the billboard action possible, but they’re helping raise funds for Fight for the Future to support our ongoing work for net neutrality. Head over to NetNeutrality.com and share the video there and they’ll donate to us each time!

Need more encouragement to submit your own video? Get ready for Harry Potter to break it down for you. Thanks to the Harry Potter Alliance.

See below for some more great photos. More coming soon! Press inquiries contact press@fightforthefuture.org or call 978-852-6457.

Crowd gathering right now outside the FCC as the billboard attracts attention from press, FCC employees, and passersby.

image

Folks from Namecheap are there with flyers to talk to FCC employees and pedestrians about why the Internet cares so much about net neutrality.

image

The billboard directly faces the FCC’s headquarters, and FCC employees can be seen looking down from the windows. Impossible to ignore.

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The billboard will play a steady stream of videos in support of Title II net neutrality. Internet users are encouraged to submit videos to play on the billboard through this form.

Photo credits: Namecheap team. These photos are available for use by press.

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This infographic will make your day, unless you happen to be a Comcast lobbyist

Hey!

Thanks to you, the Internet Slowdown was a resounding success. More people took action to defend net neutrality in one day than ever before in history.

Click here to check out this inspiring infographic showing what we did together on September 10th. It will seriously make your day, unless you happen to be a Comcast lobbyist.

Have a look. Like what you see?

Please chip in $5 so we can keep the fight going.

The slowdown was so big it was impossible to ignore. Several members of Congress tweeted about how their phones were ringing off the hook, and we dominated the mainstream news headlines. More than 40,000 websites took part, including many of the most popular sites in the world, and at the peak of the day, there were more than 1,000 phone calls to congress every minute!

This changes everything. Victory is more tangible now than ever before. But we still need to bring it home. Now that we’ve shown our strength, the giant Cable companies that are lobbying tooth and nail to destroy net neutrality will redouble their efforts, and work every connection they have to keep the public’s voice from being heard in Washington, DC.

There’s only one solution: we have to fight even harder, and grow our movement even larger, and we have to be ready to battle for the net for the long haul.

Organizing the Internet Slowdown day and hosting the website used up a huge amount of our resources. Will you chip in $5 (or more!) today to make sure we can keep the pressure on while we have so much momentum?

Yes, I will chip in today to save net neutrality!

All of us here at Fight for the Future are so proud of the Internet right now. Now more than ever it’s so clear how powerful the Internet really is as a platform for free speech, and how absolutely critical it is that we not only fight for it, but we fight to win.

With gratitude and determination,
-Tiffiniy, Holmes, Evan, Jeff, Kevin, Vasjen, and Jessica
Fight for the Future

P.S. The deadline to submit comments to the FCC is this Monday, September 15th. We’re helping plan protests on that day in NYC and Philadelphia. There’s still time to submit a comment. If you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for?! Here’s the link: https://battleforthenet.com

P.P.S We really want everyone to see this infographic, it’s so epic! Check it out here: https://battleforthenet.com/infographic

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UPDATE: Internet Slowdown numbers even bigger than we thought!

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We have the latest numbers from the Internet Slowdown day of action, and a few awesome screenshots to verify them.

We’re proud to announce that the Internet Slowdown generated an incredible response! The flood of comments coming through Battleforthenet.com was on the same order of magnitude as the total comments the FCC has received over the entire comment period. Suffice it to say the response quickly overwhelmed the FCC’s comment submission system early on Wednesday; the load was so large that they still don’t have all the submissions in the docket yet. That’s why the FCC does not have an official tally at the moment.

Note: A few news outlets have incorrectly reported much lower numbers, which were provided to reporters in error by the FCC. The number the FCC gave was just the number their failing website was able to process at the time. Since Tuesday, we had been working with the FCC to help make sure their servers stayed up. Early Wednesday, the FCC asked us directly to stop our submissions until the site came back online, or until they could find new ways to accept them (which they announced, late yesterday).

The FCC communications team knew this at the time, but one of their spokespeople (we hope in error) provided the misleading 100,000 number to reporters. We asked the FCC several times to correct this error publicly in the form of a tweet. They have not done so yet.

UPDATE: The FCC has just published partial numbers totaling over 3 million, implying a jump of well over 1 million during the #InternetSlowdown. Thanks to the publication of this new total, journalists should be able to infer from this number that the 100,000 number was an error.

They have said that a final count is coming on Tuesday, that any number up until now hasn’t been official, and that they may publish a preliminary count this weekend. We’d welcome that. The sooner the 100,000 number gets corrected the better.

The final number, when it arrives, will be huge.

For now, the latest Internet Slowdown numbers are:

Number of websites participating using our tools: 40,806

Calls made to Congress: our number + tumblr # + 30,000 from other companies: 312,171

Emails sent to Congress via battleforthenet.com: 2,332,092

Comments filed at the FCC via battleforthenet.com: 777,364

Peak calls per minute to Congress from battleforthenet.com: 1,000

Facebook shares of spinning icon: more than 1,120,000

These numbers represent only the statistics that we can easily count and verify. Many websites directed people to call their representatives using other tools, or linked directly to emails for lawmakers and the FCC, so we know many more people took action on September 10th.

These numbers are higher than previous numbers we released on Wednesday, as more submissions have come in, and we’ve received more stats from participating websites. Also, our system for automatically counting the number of sites that had installed the widget was overwhelmed early during the protest, and when we looked into it we realized the number was much higher than we had originally reported (over 40,000 – not 10,000).

Check out our infographic for more of the story: https://battleforthenet.com/sept10th/#infographic

Read below for technical details regarding the numbers.

40,806 sites participated using our tools:

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Phone calls:

The Internet Slowdown generated 312,171 phone calls to lawmakers. During peak hours, the rate of phone calls surpassed 1,000 calls per minute.

Here’s a screenshot from the back-end of the Twilio account used for calls from Battleforthenet.com, showing 143,074 calls completed:

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Here’s a screenshot from the Mobile Commons account Tumblr used for the calls they drove from their https://tumblr.com/stop page showing 136,307 calls completed.

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Additionally, Kickstarter, Etsy, and other sites helped drive more than 32,790 calls from their own tools.

Adding these numbers together: 143,074 + 136,307 + 32,790 312,171 calls

Finally, here is a screenshot from 9/10/2014 Noon EST showing 1,000 phone calls per minute:

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Form submissions resulting in FCC comments and emails to Congress:

777,364 people used Battleforthenet.com to submit a comment to the FCC on September 10th, and to trigger emails to their representatives. Each person sent 3 emails (one to each Senator and one to their rep in the House,) resulting in the total number of emails sent: 2,332,092

Here is a screenshot from the back-end of our Compose.io account showing the 777,364 submissions:

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Other big numbers that have come in but were not included in our roundup include, OpenMedia.ca’s reported 150,000 actions taken, and the many more comments that websites and national grassroots organizations submitted directly to the FCC.



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What’s next after the slowdown? Rally with #TeamInternet on September 15 and 16!

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Get ready to ditch your same-old lunch-hour routine on Sept. 15 and 16— because we need your help to fight FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan to allow discrimination online.

We are organizing protests in NYC, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington, DC to defend net neutrality. We need you there! Can you stop by?

Click here to get info and RSVP for the rally in NYC

Click here to get info and RSVP for the rally in Philadelphia

Click here to get info and RSVP for the action in Washington, DC

BREAKING: Rally in Chicago. Sept 15th. Noon-2 PM @ Jackson & LaSalle. Heart of the Chicago Financial District. Across the street from the Chicago Federal Reserve.

Here’s the details:

Sept. 15 is the deadline for final comments on Wheeler’s proposal — and while big broadband providers like Comcast are lobbying overtime to push this plan forward, we can’t let them have the last word. To that end we’ve organized big lunchtime rallies in New York City and Philadelphia to save Net Neutrality and fight the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger.

On September 16th, internet freedom supporters will gather at 11:45am at the FCC building in Washington, DC, and our friends from Namecheap will be there with a giant video-billboard playing net neutrality videos on a loop! Want your video projected on the billboard? Email it to team@fightforthefuture.org — Check out Namecheap’s awesome video here to get inspiration: http://NetNeutrality.com

Your voice is essential right now. If you don’t live in DC, New York or Philly, you can organize a rally in your own community. It’s a pretty easy process and we’ve put together a handy toolkit with all the info you need to launch your own event.

All of us on #TeamInternet have made a ton of noise since Wheeler proposed his rules — sending record-breaking numbers of comments to the FCC, rallying in Washington, D.C., and California, meeting with our elected officials to push them to stand up for real Net Neutrality.

But we need to keep speaking out to win this one. We’ve got to keep the momentum moving until Wheeler faces facts and realizes that his proposal would kill the open Internet and please no one except mammoth companies like Comcast that want to squash their competition.

So grab your megaphone and get ready to rally on Sept. 15. Let’s make this national day of action one that Net Neutrality haters will never forget.

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Thanks to our friends at Free Press who originally wrote this post and are helping coordinate actions on the 15th and 16th. Follow us on twitter for more updates: https://twitter.com/fightfortheftr

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Press Release: The Internet Slowdown by the numbers

Day of protest generates nearly 300,000 calls and more than 2 million emails to Congress; 722,364 people filed comments at the FCC.

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, tech companies, websites, public interest organizations and Internet users joined forces to demonstrate overwhelming support for stronger Net Neutrality protections. Participants in the Internet Slowdown added a spinning icon representing a slow-loading Internet to their sites. Millions of people clicked through the icon to a series of actions to members of Congress, the White House and the FCC.

An infographic displaying some of the protest highlights is here: https://battleforthenet.com/#infographic

Here are screenshots from the protest: http://imgur.com/a/fqeiC

NOTE: The volume of comments overwhelmed the FCC’s servers during the slowdown. Fight for the Future is in contact with the FCC’s tech team and is working out a solution to ensure that every comment is filed properly.

Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, Engine Advocacy, and the Free Press Action Fund organized the Internet Slowdown. The Battle for the Net website featuring updates and actions is http://battleforthenet.com

Here are the numbers from the Internet Slowdown:

Calls made to Congress: 303,099

Emails sent to Congress: 2,167,092

Comments filed at the FCC: 722,364

Calls per minute to Congress (during peak hours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.): 1,000

Participating websites: more than 10,000

Facebook shares of spinning icon: more than 1,120,000

These numbers are valid as of 10 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday. The final tally on Wednesday’s action will be provided at https://www.battleforthenet.com/

“The numbers tell the story: People everywhere are using the Internet to save the Internet from phone and cable companies,” said Fight for the Future Campaign Director Evan Greer. “We’ve shown that the best way to fight these powerful special interests in Washington is through mass action by people from outside Washington. The FCC and Congress can no longer dismiss the overwhelming consensus of public support for real Net Neutrality protections.”

"The Internet Slowdown was the biggest day of online activism since the Internet Blackout of 2012, when people rejected the SOPA and PIPA copyright bills," said Demand Progress Executive Director David Segal. “As the FCC decision on Net Neutrality approaches, Internet users will continue to speak out in numbers and with a message that will be impossible to ignore.”

“Internet users spoke out loud and clear on Wednesday,” said Free Press Action Fund President and CEO Craig Aaron. “They’re united against FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan to allow fast and slow lanes on the Internet. The chairman must now listen to the public, abandon his pay-to-play plan, and pursue the best and only path to real Net Neutrality protections — by reclassifying Internet service providers as common carriers.”

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The Internet Slowdown: we made history today! But we’re not done yet.

Hey

Thanks so much for being part of the Internet Slowdown. We made history today, it’s been huge!

More and more people are pouring in every minute to take action. This is the biggest opportunity we’ve ever had to protect the Internet as a platform for free expression, but the momentum won’t last forever. We need to seize this moment and turn it into an undeniable victory.

Can you help? If all of us take just two minutes right now to tell everyone we know about Battleforthenet.com we could double the massive number of people taking action today.

Please forward this email to everyone in your address book. Text all your friends and tell them to join, and post on social media. Here we’ll make it easy for you!

Click here to share on Facebook

Click here to share on Twitter

Click here to share on Tumblr

So far today we’ve driven 525,000 comments to the FCC from our site alone, and we melted phones in Washington, DC with more than 193,000 phone calls to Congress and the White House. That’s outstanding! But Cable companies like Comcast and Verizon are spending more than $1 million every week lobbying politicians in DC to ignore the public’s voice on this issue.

Let’s make ourselves impossible to ignore. Are you with us?

Yours for the Internet,
-Evan, Tiffiniy, Holmes, Kevin, Jeff, Vasjen, and Jessica
Fight for the Future

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staff:

By the way: If you’re interested, Tumblr has filed some wonky comments on net neutrality with the FCC, setting out our suggestions for how they can get this right. Have a read.

If you missed our video about how you can help, it’s right here.

And if you haven’t made your voice heard already, you can do so now.  

4,449 notes

Internet users and world’s largest websites unite for ‘Internet Slowdown’ today to save net neutrality

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contact:
Evan Greer, Fight for the Future
Email: press@fightforthefuture.org
Phone: 978-852-6457 or 617-690-9547

‘Internet Slowdown’ launches across the web

Businesses and public interest groups hold online action to show support for net neutrality. Companies and websites  cover the web with “loading” icons and call for FCC to protect the open Internet

WASHINGTON – Today, tech companies, main street businesses and organizations are demonstrating their support for stronger net neutrality protections by adding a spinning icon to their websites, representing a slow-loading Internet. The symbolic icon links to a series of actions to members of Congress, the White House and the FCC. The event builds on the millions of Americans who have told the government to protect innovation and fairness on the Internet from corporate interference.

"The Internet is united against the FCC’s Net Neutrality-killing proposal," said Craig Aaron, president and CEO of the Free Press Action Fund. "Today we’ll see the Internet slow down as millions of people rise up against this threat to our rights to connect and communicate. There aren’t many issues that could bring together such a diverse array of groups, big platforms and small businesses, senators and everyday citizens, all of them urging the leaders at the FCC to restore real Net Neutrality."

Internet users had already placed 40,000 phone calls this morning through  https://www.battleforthenet.com/

(But this represents just a fraction of the total activism, as many major sites have created their own activism tools.)

Screenshots of some of the participating websites can be found here: https://imgur.com/a/KHnr7

Sites are encouraged to continue to join the protests throughout the day — tools are available at: www.battleforthenet.com/sept10th.

"It’s encouraging to see so many prominent companies participating in the day of action in support of an open Internet,” said Evan Engstrom, Policy Director at Engine. “The FCC needs to know that preserving strong net neutrality rules is necessary to ensure that the Internet remains a platform for innovation and economic growth, and that reclassifying broadband as a Title II service is the only way to achieve this goal."

Evan Greer, Campaign Director of Fight for the Future, added. “Today, we are showing once again not only the power of the Internet to defend itself from threats to free speech but the urgency of protecting net neutrality. Today’s protest was organized by a small number of people working very hard with limited resources. Without a neutral net that gives everyone a voice, we would never have gotten this off the ground. The future of every social movement, startup, independent artist, and innovative idea depends on the outcome of this battle for the net.”

The “Internet Slowdown” is being organized by Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press Action Fund and Engine Advocacy. The Battle for the Net website with updates and actions is www.battleforthenet.com/sept10th.

Groups aim to leave the Internet open so that the next Google and the next Facebook can succeed. They believe that America was built on the fundamental values of freedom of expression where every idea has a fair shot at being heard and big companies like Comcast and Verizon should not be allowed to create Internet fast lanes for rich companies and slow lanes for the rest of the country.

Political momentum has increased recently, including letters to the FCC supporting the light-touch “Title II” approach to achieving net neutrality from Senator Angus King and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and a statement from Representative Matsui, in addition to previous support from more than a dozen Senators and more than 40 Representatives.

Some of the companies and websites that are participating in the action include Automattic (which runs WordPress.com), AVG, Bluehost Boing Boing, Cheezburger, Chess.com, Comptel, CREDO Mobile, DailyDot Digg, Dropbox, Dwolla, Etsy, Fark, Foursquare, Gandi, General Assembly, Gfycat, Grooveshark, iFixit, Kickstarter, Meetup, Mozilla, Namecheap, The Nation, Netflix, reddit, SendGrid, Tagged, Thunderclap, Tumblr, Twilio, Twitter, Upworthy, Urban Dictionary, Vimeo , and Wikia.

Additionally, Google participated by sending a pro-net neutrality email to its activism list of on order of two million people.

Participating organizations include, among others, American Civil Liberties Union, Common Cause, the Center for Media Justice, ColorOfChange, DailyKos, Demand Progress, Democracy for America, Democrats.com, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Engine Advocacy, Fight for the Future, the Free Press Action Fund, the Future of Music Coalition, Greenpeace USA, the Harry Potter Alliance, the Media Alliance, the Media Mobilizing Project, MoveOn, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, OpenMedia, Popular Resistance, Presente.org, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Progressives United, the Other 98%, RootsAction, Rootstrikers, the Sierra Club, SumOfUs, Voqal, Women, Action & the Media, the Writers Guild of America, East, and the Writers Guild of America, West.

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Contact: Evan Greer, FFTF
Email: press@fightforthefuture.org
Phone: 978-852-6457 or 617-690-9547

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staff:

Today’s the day. The day you help save the internet from being ruined.

Ready? 

Yes, you are, and we’re ready to help you.

(Long story short: The FCC is about to make a critical decision as to whether or not internet service providers have to treat all traffic equally. If they choose wrong, then the internet where anyone could start a website for any reason at all, the internet that’s been so momentous, funny, weird, and surprising—that internet could cease to exist. Here’s your chance to preserve a beautiful thing.)

180,493 notes