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Internet Slowdown Day FAQ: How Netflix, Wordpress, and other web giants are fighting for Net Neutrality

Ian Paul | Sept. 11, 2014
If you visit sites like BoingBoing, Digg, Upworthy, and Vimeo this morning, you'll probably see some strange behavior such as a strategically placed spinning icon meant to mimic a slow-loading site. The little JavaScript widgets are all part of Wednesday's Internet Slowdown Day--a digital day of action meant to draw attention to the perils of an Internet without net neutrality.

Notable participating web companies include:

  • Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com),
  • Boing Boing
  • Cheezburger
  • Digg
  • Dwolla
  • Etsy
  • Fark
  • Foursquare
  • iFixit
  • imgur
  • Kickstarter
  • Mozilla
  • Namecheap
  • The Nation
  • Netflix
  • reddit
  • Upworthy
  • Urban Dictionary
  • Vimeo

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Some of the well known civic action groups and other organizations participating include:

American Civil Liberties Union, Common Cause, the Center for Media Justice, ColorOfChange, DailyKos, Demand Progress, Democracy for America, Democrats.com, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Engine Advocacy, Fight for the Future, the Free Press Action Fund, the Future of Music Coalition, Greenpeace USA, the Harry Potter Alliance, the Media Alliance, the Media Mobilizing Project, MoveOn, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, OpenMedia, Popular Resistance, Presente.org, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Progressives United, the Other 98%, RootsAction, Rootstrikers, the Sierra Club, SumOfUs, Voqal, Women, Action & the Media, the Writers Guild of America, East, and the Writers Guild of America, West.

What exactly are all these websites doing?

All of the participating websites are putting up a JavaScript widget or interstitial that shows a spinning icon meant to imitate a slow-loading site. The site itself will not actually load slower than you're used to.

Exactly what you'll see depends on the site you visit.

There are two standard JavaScript widgets: a small one as you see here and a larger one that you can see at the top of this post. Vimeo is also using its own version with a video explaining why it's against the FCC's proposed regulations. All of the widgets can be dismissed by simply clicking an "X" button.

What can I do to participate?

If you live in the U.S., the most effective thing you can do is submit your own comment to the FCC (whether for or against). The easiest way to do this is to visit the EFF's DearFCC website, which has a simple form you can fill out. Just make sure you submit your comment before September 15.

If you want to support the initiative you can embed a JavaScript widget on your own website. You can also change your Twitter icon to a spinning icon. The code and images for all these actions are available on BattleForTheNet.com.

The Internet Slowdown is a one-day event and all participating sites will return to normal on Thursday.

 

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