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'Red Alert for Net Neutrality' Gains Steam as Internet Heavyweights Back Campaign

"We will finally force lawmakers to let us know if they stand with the 85 percent of Americans who support net neutrality—or with the cable companies that want to manipulate the internet in service of greater profits."

Momentum is building as open internet advocates and internet companies urge senators to overrule the FCC's unpopular repeal of net neutrality rules. (Photo: Free Press/Flickr/cc)

In less than a week, senators will be able to officially voice their support for overruling the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) December ruling on net neutrality—and momentum was building among advocates and internet companies on Thursday ahead of a huge online demonstration to push lawmakers to reverse the FCC's decision.

"We will finally force lawmakers to let us know if they stand with the 85 percent of Americans who support net neutrality—or with the cable companies that want to manipulate the internet in service of greater profits," David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress, said in a statement.

Demand Progress is one of the groups behind the Red Alert for Net Neutrality campaign planned for May 9, when popular websites including Reddit, Mozilla, Etsy, Tumblr, Postmates, Vimeo, and Foursquare will display prominent messages in support of net neutrality and users will be urged to flood social media with posts advocating for internet freedom.

"Every Internet user, every startup, every small business—the Internet must come together to sound the alarm and save net neutrality." —Evan Greer, Fight for the Future

Just two days after the protest was announced, at least 13 companies have pledged to take part.

May 9 is the day when senators could restore protections that keep Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, from giving favorable treatment to certain websites and content, and blocking or throttling traffic to others—but only if one more legislator joins the 47 Democrats, along with Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Angus King (I-Maine), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) who have said they'll support the effort to overturn the FCC's repeal of net neutrality rules.

"This senate vote will be the most important moment for net neutrality since the FCC repeal. Now is the time to fight," said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future. "Every Internet user, every startup, every small business—the Internet must come together to sound the alarm and save net neutrality."

The FCC's 3-2 decision has been an unpopular one, with 83 percent of respondents in a University of Maryland poll saying they supported net neutrality ahead of the agency's vote in December.

"Congress has the chance to rewind a terrible Trump administration policy decision, and one of its least popular, too," said Craig Aaron, president and CEO of Free Press Action Fund. "Net Neutrality is overwhelmingly supported by people across the political spectrum: Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike. The FCC's disastrous vote late last year led to a historic outcry Congress must not ignore. There's only one way to stand up for real Net Neutrality—and to stand on the right side of history— and that's by voting for the resolution of disapproval to restore these essential safeguards. The public will be closely watching who’s looking out for them and who’s only serving phone and cable lobbyists."

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