By Chris Powers – Layout/Special Sections Editor
Some of the internet was intentionally slow Thursday. Sept. 10 was a day of protest called “Go Slow” day. It was protesting the FCC’s net neutrality proposal announced in April which would create different speed lanes for various internet traffic and allow internet service providers to charge more for these so-called “fast lines.” The aim of the protest was to raise awareness of the proposal and send users to the FCC comment section before the open comment period closes Sept. 15.
Major players like Netflix and Reddit added an animated spinning wheel of death typically associated with slow WI-FI. Along with the loading symbol came the message, “If there were Internet slow lanes, you’d still be waiting.”
The initiative was similar to, but smaller in scale than, the SOPA/PIPA protests that saw Wikipedia black out its site for an entire day in 2012. Although the analogous protest action may seem to be intentionally slowing down their websites for the day, the fear was that users would be unaware why their experience was slow.
In an interview with Slate, Lisa Rubentstein, the head of public policy at Tumblr explained, “There was a sense that something that was too subtle might actually disturb our users and put them off rather than being a metaphor that draws people in.”
The FCC proposal previously gained attention back in June when former Daily Show correspondent John Oliver highlighted the issue on his HBO show and the clip went viral.