July 12 has been deemed the Internet-wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality, and some pretty well-known net companies are using their large platforms to show support.
But how, if you’re a net neutrality proponent without a soap box as large as Google’s, can you make an impact? We asked Corynne McSherry, online rights expert and legal director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Her first answer: Start by engaging your social network.
"A big part of this day of action is that people need to know what's happening. Still too many people don't realize what the [Federal Communications Commission] is up to, because it's 'boring.'" McSherry said.
Fight for the Future, the nonprofit that organized this year's net neutrality support day, has several social media-oriented GIFs and memes for download on its site that are meant to be posted by supporters to bring attention to the cause.
(Below is a "dreaded loading sign" meme that is supposed to display what the web could become if ISPs are allowed to create slow lanes for sites or users that don't want to pay extra.)
There have been several web-spanning “free and open Internet” support days in the past, but the one this year comes as FCC chair Ajit Pai is readying plans to repeal the current net neutrality rules that are in place.
Public comments on the FCC action are being taken until July 17, and McSherry says that's another, and arguably more crucial, way to make some noise against the dismantling up of net neutrality.
"You can go to DearFCC.org, which is a site that [the EFF] has set up to make it very easy to submit a comment to the FCC," McSherry offered.
In recent years, the FCC's site crashed when too many activist visitors at once flooded it with online comments.
DearFCC.org, McSherry explained, will save comments and send them to the FCC in the event the site does go down this year.
As for making companies who might be against net neutrality hear your voice, or maybe even feel your boycott, that's a little trickier.
"If you could boycott these companies, we might not even need net neutrality rules, but the fact is you can't."
McSherry went to point out that few areas in the country are served by smaller Internet service providers that are pro-net neutrality.
The rest of the U.S. suffers from "monopolies or duopolies" provided by Comcast, Verizon or AT&T, companies McSherry said want the FCC changing the current net neutrality rules.
The best you can do to get the attention of these conglomerates on the Internet-wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality, according to McSherry.
"I don't know – maybe you should call their customer service line. Of course, that could take years of your life."