In the big debate over net neutrality, one of the things telco supporters always say is that no broadband provider would dare try to censor content or block certain critical websites. Of course, sometimes, it's just too tempting not to. A few weeks ago, the viral video of the week was about the Comcast technician who fell asleep on a customer's couch. It got passed around and blogged all over the place -- eventually leading Comcast to apologize and say they had fired the guy. This was actually a strange response, since part of the reason he fell asleep was because Comcast put him on hold for quite some time, rather than being able to help him complete his work. Perhaps a better response would have been to improve the process so the guy wouldn't have been left on hold for so long when calling in to the office. Last week, Nightline did a story about this and other viral ways that consumers are fighting back against companies that wrong them. Of course, it turns out that Comcast has a deal with ABC to stream Nightline over the web to subscribers -- and the Consumerist is now showing video that certainly suggests that, for Comcast customers watching Nightline online, the segment on the sleeping Comcast technician has been edited out. It's not a minor net hiccup either. From the video, it looks like a good five minutes of the segment (all the parts that mention Comcast) are completely missing. There could be other explanations for this, but either way, it seems pretty questionable. For all the talk of how broadband providers would never censor content... it seems like there will be times when it will just be too tempting. Update: Comcast is now claiming that they did not censor the video, and that it was an "inadvertent" mistake by someone at ABC. It's certainly possible that ABC thought it might be wise to edit out that part for their partner, but it seems like a pretty big coincidence that the one segment that "inadvertently" was edited out just happened to be about Comcast looking bad.
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