CreditBryan Thomas for The New York Times
For one day, tech companies big and small united on a common cause: to protest the government’s rollback of rules for the internet.
Google, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon and hundreds of smaller tech companies coordinated a huge online protest on Wednesday against the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to scrap net neutrality rules, which guarantee that broadband service providers treat all internet traffic equally. The tech companies want the rules to remain to protect them from unfair treatment by broadband providers like Comcast or AT&T, which could create faster delivery lanes for some websites and not others.
Silicon Valley approached this fight against the Trump administration’s plans its own way — by taking to the internet.
Some of the biggest users of internet lanes were at the forefront. Netflix, which depends on free and open internet lanes to transmit its streaming video, had a small banner ad on its home page reading “Protect Internet Freedom. Defend Net Neutrality. Take Action,” which linked to the net neutrality information page of its trade group, the Internet Association. (The banner didn’t appear on the app for television viewers.)
Twitter promoted the hashtag topic #NetNeutrality on its home page and app and posted a link to a blog post with an explainer on the issue and a direct link to comment on the F.C.C. website.
Those who use Reddit, the online forum, were greeted with a pop-up promotion that gave its take on why net neutrality is important.
Amazon’s gaming site Twitch also promoted its protest of the F.C.C. plan with a banner ad on its site, a post on Twitter, and an electronic letter to users explaining the issue.
Expedia, the online travel company, had banners across all its sites, including Expedia.com, VBRO.com, Hotels.com, and HomeAway.com.
Some tech companies did not make their displeasure as overt on their home pages. On Amazon’s home page, the company placed a “Net Neutrality? Learn More” ad between promotions for a streaming Starz show and Amazon’s Prime Music service.
Google, one of the biggest supporters of net neutrality, also was not in-your-face with the issue. The company posted a link to a blog on Twitter warning that the rules were in danger and that people should make their voices heard by telling the F.C.C. to stop its rollback.
Facebook didn’t promote the issue on its site but chose to speak through its leaders, with posts by chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg.
Some smaller websites were among the most vocal in online protests. Etsy, the online market for crafts, had a major promotion on its home page with a tool that let visitors directly send comments to lawmakers and the F.C.C.