Internet Slowdown Protests Drove Over 300,000 Calls & 2 Million Emails To Congress, Plus Another 700,000 FCC Comments

from the but-still-some-want-to-dismiss-it dept

In discussing yesterday's internet slowdown day protest, we noted that, at its peak, the effort was driving over 1,000 calls per minute to Congress. The final numbers are now in, and they're amazing.
If you can't see the image, it shows 303,099 calls made to Congress, 2,167,092 emails sent to Congress, and another 722,364 comments filed with the FCC. If you want to file comments with the FCC (you can read ours, if you'd like a sample) I recommend using EFF's DearFCC.org website.

What's amazing is how quick some folks have been to try to dismiss this massively successful effort. The most hilarious of all has to be Newsweek (the same publication that recently outed the wrong Satoshi Nakamoto as the "creator" of Bitcoin), whose Lauren Walker seemed so anxious to slam the protests as meaningless that she wrote a hilariously wrong article suggesting no one really participated in the protests, and that even the activists are conceding that net neutrality is dead.

Walker uses the weak premise that so many cynical tech press folks have used in the past few years: if an online protest doesn't match the astounding numbers from the giant anti-SOPA/PIPA internet "blackout," then clearly it's a failure. That's a dumb hacky premise, but hacky reporters keep jumping on it. Even worse, however, is that (beyond misquoting Fight for the Future's Evan Greer), Walker insists that the protest fizzled because very few sites took part, and those that did probably didn't drive anyone to do anything. She reports none of the numbers above, and totally incorrectly claims that just 76 websites participated. The number was actually more than 10,000. Reporting!

Either way, the effort yesterday has to be seen as a huge success in driving awareness on the issue and also in letting DC know that the public really cares about this issue. And, now, we wait to see if the FCC will actually listen to those pleas.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 11 Sep 2014 @ 3:15pm

    Out of curiosity, I wonder how many of those trying to dismiss the numbers this time around also did the same thing when the SOPA/PIPA protests were going down, or were among the 'it's a done deal, there's no point in protesting at all' crowd?

    I also have to wonder how many of those desperately trying to downplay the response are doing so due to orders from above, the cable companies have got to have been surprised with just how large a response this got, and are likely more than a little worried that someone in DC might start paying attention to the public, rather than them, due to this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), 11 Sep 2014 @ 3:31pm

    All three of my critters' voicemails were full when I tried.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2014 @ 3:41pm

    i'm quite sure that the FCC will listen to the pleas. my concern is whether Wheeler will actually act on them to restore 'net neutrality'! and on top of that, after spouting off about it, whether he will have the necessaries to actually bring competition into broadband rather than leaving as it has been for God knows how long, with the biggest 3 or 4 sorting prices out amongst themselves so the customer gets well and truly continuously shafted!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Manfred Manfriend, 11 Sep 2014 @ 4:08pm

    Quoth Congressman Bedfellow:

    "Fine! Fine! We'll just try again next year under a different name...surely this innertube fad will have passed by then!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Luke A, 11 Sep 2014 @ 4:41pm

    Net Neutrality

    Stuff like this makes me wish that Google would spend some of that 59 billion in cash and launch fiber nationwide. I would love it if I could tell comcast to shove it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Whatever (profile), 11 Sep 2014 @ 5:38pm

    You have to wonder what percentage of those calls was people thinking they were calling their ISP to complain about slow service. You also have to wonder what percentage of those emails were just filtered out as repetitive spam, sort of a policy LOIC.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2014 @ 6:04pm

      Re:

      Then obviously those emails were censored, right? Because you think spam filtering is censorship.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Whatever (profile), 11 Sep 2014 @ 6:39pm

        Re: Re:

        Spam filtering is not censorship, don't be a troll.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2014 @ 7:49pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          If that's what you actually believed in, you and your buddy antidirt/average_joe/his wife's laptop wouldn't have spent an entire thread arguing about it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          RD, 11 Sep 2014 @ 8:09pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Spam filtering is not censorship, don't be a troll."

          Neither is clicking "Report" but you people yell and scream "censorship!" when someone exercises their right to free speech on you.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          TruthHurts, 11 Sep 2014 @ 10:04pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          If the content is valid and pertinent to the discussion at hand, then it would be censorship as it wouldn't qualify as spam.

          Your circular logic fails.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Whatever (profile), 11 Sep 2014 @ 11:02pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            No circular logic. Blocking actual spam, while at it's very extreme a form of censorship, is more like having a "post no bills" rule. The spam isn't part of the discussion.

            See, the problem is that people like the anonymous (and RD it seems) is that they treat opinions they don't like as if they are spam. They hit report to shut the opposing opinion down, to deny others the chance to read that opposing opinion in the normal course of discussion.

            They try very hard to play word games with the censorship, but they know the difference - they are just trying to piss me off. Far from it, it just makes me pity them for being so petty.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 12:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Unlike what you think, relentlessly posting "Mike Masnick hates it when copyright law is enforced" isn't playing the devil's advocate or honest discussion.

              Sounds like someone's sore that he regularly receives the spam filter.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Whatever (profile), 12 Sep 2014 @ 1:23am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Yes, and if I was doing that, you could call it spam. It's not however what I do.

                The "spam filter" as you call it isn't a spam filter here... it's an "opinion filter", and that the problem.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 2:43am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Maybe if you and your side (yes, you have a side, and you'll continue to lie that you don't) didn't spend entire comment threads whining about this, people would take you seriously.

                  As it is, you think having a circle-jerk over spamming the same shit over and over and over again is the most thoughtful and hilarious thing anyone has ever done. You've made it clear that your side is only around to be contrarian and offensive, and kick up a fuss when decent people want to show you the door.

                  Hey, maybe if you're so butthurt about it, you could always make fifty Techdirt accounts, use TOR and report every post that isn't yours, or doesn't demand maximum penalties for copyright infringement or photographing policemen. After all, if you're going to lie about most things and ignore evidence that runs contrary to what your side thinks, you could always lie to yourself that you're not a complete douchebucket.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Whatever (profile), 12 Sep 2014 @ 3:18am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    you think having a circle-jerk over spamming the same shit over and over and over again is the most thoughtful and hilarious thing anyone has ever done.

                    I don't do that. Sorry you feel that way. Take that up with the idiots.

                    I am not butthurt about anything, I don't take it personally.

                    ey, maybe if you're so butthurt about it, you could always make fifty Techdirt accounts, use TOR and report every post that isn't yours,

                    Yes, correct, I said that. Wow, you have a great memory. Like all your short "due process" posts in the past, right?

                    I made that comment only to show that the report button could (a) be abused, and (b) be used to shut down comments that someone doesn't like, but that are valid and reasonable. I don't expect you to understand such a complex concept however.

                    Maybe if you and your side

                    My side are "human beings". My guess is your side is canine or perhaps reptilian. Butthurt much?

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 4:12am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      No one believes you, bobmail.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 7:19am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Shh. Don't say mean things like that or call him out to cite his sources, he's going to think your PaulT. Like he thinks I am when I do that, despite being someone completely different. (I think he has a crush on PaulT.)

                        Then there's the whole "I don't want to acknowledge what you said so I'll just call you a troll" thing he does.

                        It's funny. Ask him to cite sources, he'll sidestep so hard you can't help but laugh. Call him out as a liar for never providing citations, you're "resorting to ad homs and therefore you must be PaulT".

                        Whatever's a one trick pony who tries to pass himself off as reasonable and rational but in reality is anything but, especially when called out on his bullshit.

                        Signed,

                        Not PaulT (although Whatever will say I am him anyway, just tell him you like him already, but seriously more than one person here sees you for what you are and is going to call you out when they know for a fact you're lying or making things up)

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 8:41am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          It's not being mean. It's connecting the dots.

                          Whatever is horse with no name, Just Sayin', and My Name Here, just prettied up with a login account after he got chased out of TorrentFreak when the admins caught him spamming and trolling. Now that TorrentFreak enforces logins he hasn't shown his ass in there for forever. Too much butthurt.

                          It's funny, because if he didn't mention that "due process" thing no one would give a shit about him, but he broke his own anonymity.

                          Copyright fanboy trolls are a class of their own. They fuck up everything they touch.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2014 @ 5:51pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "Due process"? Sorry to disappoint you, but that's not me. Unlike what you think, not everyone who posts anonymously is out to get you.

                      "Great memory" has nothing to do with it. You kicked such a big tantrum in that thread, it cemented the impression everyone has of you being an asshole - and it seems everyone has been proven right yet again.

                      And rounding out your little lie-fest is an insult. "Don't take it personally", my foot.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 9:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              None of you have a proper understanding of spam, which isn't surprising: very few people do.

              The proper -- and only acceptable -- definition of spam is "unsolicited bulk email". Content is irrelevant. Purpose is irrelevant. Sender is irrelevant. Method is irrelevant. (I'll omit, for brevity the discussion of why these things are irrelevant, but I trust that anyone equipped with basic reasoning skills can deduce this for themselves.)

              Clearly, individual messages composed by various, even numerous people, are not spam because they are not bulk: they are in fact a reasonable, normal, expected and entirely welcome use of email. However, boilerplate messages -- uniform in content and differing, perhaps, only in the name attached at the bottom -- are bulk. Thus an effort in which people are requested to write to Congress or the FCC or some other entity and make their wishes known is not an effort which generates spam. However, an effort in which people are requested to simply append their contact information to pre-written messages which are then sent in great numbers is clearly spam, clearly unethical, and clearly abusive.

              It's of course the choice of the recipients (or their respective postmasters) as to how to deal with both of these situations as well as the numerous other ones that lie on a continuum between them. But it's important to note that whatever choice they make does NOT change the substance of the matter: that is, if they choose in the latter case to allow all those messages to be received, that doesn't change the fact that they're still spam. (And in fact it's quite common for sites to make exactly such decisions.)

              Of course this entire question (and its consequences) may be easily avoided by simply choosing not to send spam nor to construct mechanisms which send it. That neatly eliminates the entire debate and is clearly the best available option.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 5:09pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "None of you have ... "

                That right there makes whatever follows incorrect.
                How would you know?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                John Fenderson (profile), 15 Sep 2014 @ 11:33am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "The proper -- and only acceptable -- definition of spam is "unsolicited bulk email"."

                I missed you election to the position of language cop. You better get busy, since "spam" is now used by most people in a more expansive way than your (obsolete) definition.

                If you copy and paste the same comment in every article on a site, for example, you're spamming. If you post an advertisement in a comment, you're spamming, etc.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 12:11pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Report" is not just for spam. It's also for "abusive" or "trollish" behaviour, both of which you exhibit on a daily if not hourly basis.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2014 @ 8:13pm

      Re:

      Yes, you keep on wondering.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 12 Sep 2014 @ 9:16am

      Re:

      You have to wonder what percentage of those calls was people thinking they were calling their ISP to complain about slow service. You also have to wonder what percentage of those emails were just filtered out as repetitive spam, sort of a policy LOIC.

      Have to? No, but you could wonder that if you're just looking for ways to discredit this protest.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 12:08pm

      Re:

      You have to wonder...

      If your goal is to maintain your state of denial, then yes, I suppose you do.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Digger, 11 Sep 2014 @ 10:10pm

    Make sure to lead them to the evidence...

    Did you include the categorically false statements made by Comcast?

    Did you lead them to the links that prove that Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and Time Warner are all already slowing down services like NetFlix?

    I made sure my critters know about all of that, as well as fed the data to my local state AG so that they could start an investigation into their illegal antics, you should too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 12 Sep 2014 @ 1:43pm

    Natural Selection in Action

    Ah, Newsweek.

    A shining beacon of misinformation among the members of the Truth-Free Press, and one of the primary drivers of the move towards honest journalism and away from the legacy fake news services.

    Always a delight to watch the dinosaurs doing their well deserved suicide walk.
    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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