“The Internet is the repository of all human knowledge — and goats singing Taylor Swift songs,” said John Oliver on Last Week Tonight, rejoicing in the fact that the Internet is an incredible place. However, according to Oliver, that is threatened by the Trump administration’s decision to roll back protections for net neutrality.
If you don’t recall the fifth-ever episode of Last Week Tonight, where Oliver also discussed net neutrality, it is the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) cannot limit, slow down access to, or otherwise manipulate the choices that consumers make online by slowing down access to less popular sites. In short, they have to treat all websites as equal. For instance, Ancestry.com and Oliver’s new website, JustTellMeIfImRelatedToANazi.com (which, by the way, directs to the Federal Communications Commission’s site). In short, net neutrality makes the Internet a level playing field. However the Trump administration has decided to roll back Obama-era rules safeguarding net neutrality, which doesn’t surprise Oliver, who also wouldn’t be surprised if “Trump purposefully killed every turkey that Obama ever pardoned.”
The person leading the charge to roll back net neutrality is President Trump’s new FCC Chair, Ajit Pai, a former lawyer for Verizon. According to Oliver, Pai has reportedly suggested that ISPs could simply promise not to obstruct or slow consumer access to websites in their terms of services (those long technical rules that no one reads), and as Oliver notes, “That would make net neutrality as binding as a proposal on The Bachelor.”
Net neutrality could be protected by an act of Congress, but Oliver does not trust this Congress or any Congress to handle such a complex and technical issue. Instead, Oliver believes that anyone who loves the Internet needs to speak up and make sure the FCC knows that net neutrality is important. To make that easy, Oliver bought the website GoFCCYourself.com which leads directly to the FCC’s public comment area.
Oliver encourages everyone from every Internet subculture, every Internet time waster, YouTube celebrities, every Yelp reviewer, people who tweet rude things to the Pope, congratulate Beyoncé on her pregnancy, or take the time to write very involved memes on Facebook. Oliver wants them to all come together, get involved, and save net neutrality.
In 2014, the FCC’s website crashed due to a huge amount of traffic following Oliver’s first program on net neutrality. The same appeared to have happened Sunday night, with many people tweeting that the FCC page was down.