FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Tuesday slammed critics, including celebrities and tech companies, of his plan to gut net neutrality regulations.
Pai called out “Hollywood celebrities, whose large online followings give them outsized influence in shaping the public debate” in particular.
Comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani and actor Mark Ruffalo tweeted criticism of the Federal Communications Commission’s plans this month.
#NetNeutrality is an issue that will affect every single person here. It is not a partisan issue. We will never go back to a free internet. https://t.co/OW1tIVz0B1
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) November 21, 2017
Taking away #NetNeutrality is the Authoritarian dream. Consolidating information into the hands of a few controlled by a few. Dangerous territory. https://t.co/ZVdvmGzcHf
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) November 21, 2017
Cher, who is an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, also rcently took to Twitter to say that changes to net neutrality regulations mean “Trump can change the internet !! It will include LESS AMERICANS NOT MORE.”
Net Neutrality means
Trump can Change The
Internet ‼️It Will Include LESS AMERICANS NOT MORE‼️
Will show you ONLY WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO SEE ‼️SLOWER AND MORE EXPENSIVE AT THEIR WHIM‼️SEE LESS,CHARGED MORE…
— Cher (@cher) November 22, 2017
Pai reprimanded major internet companies, saying they are a “much bigger threat to open internet” than the broadband providers who could benefit from the rollbacks.
“They might cloak their advocacy in the public interest, but the real interest of these internet giants is in using the regulatory process to cement their dominance in the internet economy,” Pai said.
The chairman also accused Twitter of being biased in the net neutrality debate.
“Now look: I love Twitter, and I use it all the time. But let’s not kid ourselves; when it comes to an open internet, Twitter is part of the problem,” Pai said. “The company has a viewpoint and uses that viewpoint to discriminate.”
He recalled when Twitter blocked Rep. Marsha Blackburn from running an anti-abortion campaign video because the social media site said the video included “an inflammatory statement.”
“To say the least, the company appears to have a double standard when it comes to suspending or de-verifying conservative users’ accounts as opposed to those of liberal users,” Pai said.
Pai’s remarks came one day after Twitter and other companies including Airbnb, Reddit, and Tumblr sent a letter to the FCC, urging the commission to preserve net neutrality rules.
According to polls, the public overwhelmingly supports the regulations, which prevent internet service providers from slowing content or manipulating data sent to customers. Pai and other Republicans think net neutrality rules are a sign of too-heavy government regulation and prevent companies from investing in infrastructure upgrades.
The FCC will vote on a proposal to eliminate the regulations on Dec. 14.
H/T the Hill
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