Categories: net neutrality

Amanda Palmer: Hands up! I have a picture of a toddler, and I’m not afraid to use it

My hand hovers over my mouse while my soul is torn in two. I imagine a lot of artists, musicians and small business owners have had moments like this: I’m floundering about whether or not to attach a cute picture of my two-year-old to my U.K. tour announcement on Facebook. Facebook’s algorithms have trained me very well. If I attach the picture, the tour dates will reach more people. If I attach the simple photo (of me, clothed, which would, sigh, not go viral) and simple list of tour dates, it will get less reach. No one is here to tell me what to do or what’s ethical. All’s fair in promotion and war. And my kid is really, truly super-cute. What’s the harm?

Amanda Palmer is an independent singer-songwriter, best-selling author and former eight-foot-tall bride who believes that the free internet is the best internet. We invited her to share why repealing net neutrality hurts indie artists.

This past April, I was lucky enough to be at a TED conference where I watched Jaron Lanier talk about where the internet went horribly wrong.

A shudder of recognition waved through me as I listened to him describe how social media platforms and search engines have turned into, to use his term, “behavior modification empires.” I, like Jaron, never thought it would come to this. That I’d be sitting there, my hand hovering over a mouse, wondering if I really should take the plunge and attach a picture of my goddamn two-year-old to this tour date announcement, because I’ve become such an expert in the punishing algorithms of Facebook to know that my message will only carry if it is attached to a cute, viral image.

And everybody loses in this scenario: I lose (the artist no longer has integrity), my audience loses (they’re being manipulated) and my child loses (basically, he’s, um, being exploited). I’ve also learned that my tour dates can gain reach if I include an outraged rant about feminism, pose a question about body hair freedom, or share vintage pictures of my husband’s mullet (don’t get me wrong, I care about all these things deeply).

Jaron talked about how far we’ve come from that utopian vision of a free internet. Here’s an excerpt from his talk:

“Early digital culture had this sense of lefty-socialist-mission about it, that unlike other things that have been done, like the invention of books, everything on the

Internet must be purely public, must be available for free, because if even one person cannot afford it, then that would create this terrible inequity. Now of course, there’s other ways to deal with that. If books cost money, you can have public libraries. And so forth. But we were thinking, no, no, no, this is an exception. This must be pure public commons, that’s what we want.

And so that spirit lives on. You can experience it in designs like the Wikipedia, for instance, and many others. But at the same time, we also believed, with equal fervor, in this other thing that was completely incompatible, which is why we loved our tech entrepreneurs. We loved Steve Jobs; we loved this Nietzschean myth of the techie who could dent the universe. Right? And that mythical power still has a hold on us, as well. So you have these two different passions, for making everything free and for the almost supernatural power of the tech entrepreneur. How do you celebrate entrepreneurship when everything’s free?” 

And so I don’t attach the picture of my kid to my tour dates. I watch the number of post views plummet, and I watch Facebook, once again, punish me for resisting to add viral, algorithm-feeding material to my post. And I feel noble. But my tour date in Liverpool still isn’t sold out.

Rewind

I started a band just when the internet was starting to be commonly Used for Things, and – as a connector and a musician – I was one of the internet’s biggest fans. My band The Dresden Dolls was born in 2000, and I had a nerdy friend at MIT who built us a simple website. We started an email list, which involved you giving me your email address, and I would email you information about our shows from my personal email account (R.I.P. elegiiadiscord@aol.com). At this time we could just barely share music on the net, links had to be typed in from scratch. I started my blog (which was text only) and the hardcore logged in, checked and paid attention. Then came our band message board forum. Then came MySpace. Then LiveJournal. In general, the corporations were not our friends. They didn’t understand what the internet was meant to be used for.

Amanda was kind enough to create this Net Neutrality playlist full of songs of freedom, rebellion and joy.

I once left a meeting with our record label shaking my head in wonder; they didn’t understand why a band had to “have an active website all year round.” Wasn’t it enough to just pay for the website for the band’s three-month album cycle, and cut all those pesky costs the other nine months of the year? These were people totally confused about how the creation of a community works; they didn’t realize that, for us, the internet was a place to find fellowship, friends, recognition, soul-mates, life itself. They thought of our fans as soulless consumers, as if our fans were people who would walk to the “internet music store” once a year to buy a nice, new “internet record” as opposed to a human being who wanted to find a permanent tribe or a place to connect with one another and with the band ourselves.

Without the internet, news of my weird little cult band would have never been able to travel as fast and as far on so little gas. We were invited to tour with Nine Inch Nails because Trent Reznor saw a pre-YouTube Dresden Dolls music video that was embedded in our website that someone probably sent to him from some chatboard or other online community space.

If Trent had had to “pay” to see our video? I don’t know. I believed what all those early tech folks believed: that a free internet was the best internet. How could we possibly hoard this abundance of art, information, music, literature, education, behind a PAYWALL? And I do remember thinking at the time: show me all the ads you want, they’re harmless, I’m media-literate, I can ignore them. Whatever.

But of course, we all know what happened next. It wasn’t a matter of seeing an ad in your social newsfeed, but a matter of the punishing algorithm, a matter of becoming the advertisements ourselves. Had I been asked if I wanted to be an advertisement of a must-share picture-perfect or must-share outrage-worthy idea, instead of just being asked to ignore some ads, I would have said….no.

Our humanity, our communities, our families and our authentic, non-self-advertising connection with one another is, well, priceless. And it’s slowly evaporating in a cloud of algorithm-seeking selfies. Selfies that are posted not simply out of vanity and a need for attention, but out of a sort of sad, Pavlovian response to the lowest common denominator of the internet. We are human, we need to reach out. But we’re being trained to reach out in a way that’s not good for us.

 

Fast forward

Facebook matured against a landscape of net neutrality, and Facebook itself isn’t inherently evil. It provides a great service for those of us, a lot of us, who want to connect to one another. So it’s worth pointing out that net neutrality isn’t about the Facebooks taking over the narrative: it’s about the ISPs — the Internet Service Providers, the Comcasts — taking über-control of the narrative and how they play with the Facebooks and other online services and companies.

Contact your members of Congress and urge them to stop the repeal of net neutrality.  Here’s how.

The loss of net neutrality would mean that it is absolutely in the financial interest of Internet Service Providers to reward and give fast-lane, favored-nation status to the Facebooks (and other large companies with lots of influence and capital) of the internet. And this is where we will get stuck. Alternatives will find it very hard to gain a foothold. There is almost nobody I know using Facebook right now who wouldn’t like to have the choice to use a less corporate, more human(e), less profit-oriented social network. But there just isn’t one.

The solution to the algorithm hell we are getting caught in is to find (and/or create!) more open alternatives to Facebook. And since the money for incumbent social media platforms is in “being like Facebook”, this is the key twist. The loss of net neutrality will favor the road into the dark because the marketplace will favor companies that train and reward us to become clickbait digesters.

We’re only just starting to see the dark, long-term consequences of becoming a new human race of screen-obsessed, professional algorithm-experts. We — the slightly-clueless, everyday end-users — have taken the design and functionality of the internet for granted for years, and it’s only just starting to occur to us that it’s only a few steps to the left or right and the diverse, loud, wild, free, abundant ecosystem of the internet (the one that enlightens us instead of turning us into emotionally frightened consumers) could be leveled as quickly and brutally as a chunk of the Ecuadorian rainforest can be leveled to make way for some nice oil rigs.

There’s no universal law stating that the web fundamentally deserves to exist, or has to serve anyone in particular. A world without net neutrality has every reason to turn our internet experience into a big-box situation, squashing the rogue, mom-and-pop internet we’ve gotten used to (and now take for granted), where anybody can set up shop and do whatever they want in their own digital spaces and storefronts.

A more organized, more “monetized” internet would probably be a good thing at this point: as Jaron’s talk points out, it would probably cut down on suffering, on misinformation, on the things that have been making the web suck lately. My own experiments with online patronage (which I’ve been utilizing for three years now) have proven to me that the kind, exuberant internet of the early 2000s isn’t lost; it’s just buried under fear, ads, algorithms and noise. The cost? For my fans, about $1 per month, and over 11,000 fans of mine have decided it’s worth it to get away from the noise and into a place that’s free of ads and beholden to no outrage-fueled algorithm systems.

But the key to making that all work? Net neutrality. If the internet is going to evolve into a more organized, sophisticated and compassionate place where the cranks, trolls, fake news and clickbait of our era become a long-forgotten, brief nightmare we all had to endure, we are going to have to fight, fight, FIGHT for net neutrality. The Comcasts will always favor the Facebooks, and the Facebooks will never, ever put people before profit. The internet must be seen for what it should be, what it must be: a public utility.  We all work on the assumption that society needs clean water, so we collectivise, we chip in, we pay taxes. We need roads. We collectivise, we pay for it. We all need healthcare. We collectiv…oh wait, no we don’t. (Well, I’m in the U.K. right now. They do. Hooray for the NHS).

If it sounds like I’m contradicting myself (“Make people pay for the internet!” vs “We need to keep the internet free!”), I’ll clarify. We need net neutrality so that choices can remain in the hands of the people, not the corporations. If net neutrality went away, I’d potentially have to face a future internet that urges me to move my fan community from a lesser-known little site like Patreon (which, let’s say, wouldn’t be part of the favored-nation-huge-fast-speed-club) to a theoretical Facebook-patrons system, which could become the only fast, reliable game in town.

And if I, as an artist, was forced take my business to the only big-box in town, it would fundamentally alter and corrode my relationship with those fans, because when we’re forced to clickbait each other to death, our authentic relationships start to fail. Just like the big-box stores kill local conversation, while neighbors who meet in small, little mom-and-pop markets have more space, time and kismet for authentic conversation.

Volume up

So what can we do? Is there a way to piece the internet back together, and to shift and monetize the net just enough that it can serve actual community, human-soul-based interests?

Yes. By treating and recognizing the internet as a public utility, and by calling our congresspeople and DEMANDING that net neutrality is the only path forward. By doing this, we can hopefully make public access affordable, by paying for the internet with our taxes and/or keeping it available at a cheap enough price that it’s accessible to all who need it.

There’s a beautiful, deeper explanation for of all this: “The Cluetrain Manifesto“, written by Doc Searls and David Weinberger, who’ve have been writing about the internet since its own toddler days. It’s a great read if you want to wrap your head around where the net is (and could) be headed, including this poetic call to arms:

“An organ-by-organ body-snatch of the Internet is already well underway. Make no mistake: with a stroke of a pen, a covert handshake, or by allowing memes to drown out the cries of the afflicted we can lose the Internet we love.”

I owe so much of my career, my friendships and my art to the internet. Hell, I met my husband because of someone posting an amusing music video on a blog, which led us to one another. I’ve traveled the world for twenty years, using the internet to find my global tribe, and I treasure and cherish the fragile digital network that ties us together and provides us an avenue to real, human connection with one another. I know how easy it would be for the authenticity of those connections to be subtly crushed under the Godzilla-foot of financial interests. I’m already feeling it happen, as I sit here with my hand hovering over my mouse, wondering whether or not I’m going to attach this picture of my child to this article before I post it to Facebook.

I still haven’t decided.

You tell me.

Last thing! Every phone call matters. Please take a minute to contact your members of Congress and urge them to stop the repeal of net neutrality. Here’s how.

33 comments on “Amanda Palmer: Hands up! I have a picture of a toddler, and I’m not afraid to use it”

Post a comment

  1. Ran Hansen wrote on

    Are you speculating about what possibly may happen IF net neutrality is repealed? Have your fears actually come true? I thought net neutrality resulted in smaller players being subsidized by big ones; Is that wrong?

    Reply

  2. barbara dodge wrote on

    You hovered, so you know the answer.

    Reply

  3. Frank Callaghan wrote on

    I want the internet kept free and open to everyone! Net Neutrality!

    Reply

  4. Michael MacPherson wrote on

    Trump put Ajit Pai as head of the FCC to destroy net neutrality, to allow Trumps right wing bias Sinclair Broadcasting to take over the local news, so there can be 24/7 lies, propaganda, and disinformation being watched by the public.
    To ask the FCC to put a stop to it, is like asking White Supremacists and the KKK to allow people of color to join their organizations.

    Reply

  5. old farta wrote on

    I would like it open a free, but I don’t think the words are the same for you and me.

    Reply

  6. jane wrote on

    I am almost 89 and remember when there was so much more freedom than we have today. We were able to solve problems with neighbors without running to a lawyer, create ways to solve our personal needs. etc. Now people have become so dependent on others to make decisions, that we now have this to contend with. Wake up, people, get independent again!

    Reply

  7. diana richey wrote on

    Amanda, If your music is one fiftieth as good as your writing, you are
    one FINE artist. Don’t send the photograph, ever. No question.
    Multitudes of mourners are pulling for you.
    Diana

    Reply

    1. Alex wrote on

      Her music is fantastic but the songs themselves are topped by her live performance of them. If you haven’t yet I insist you at least check out her solo work.

      Reply

  8. mahdi wrote on

    i like

    Reply

  9. Charles E Mickler wrote on

    I agree that a free internet is essential but at the same time I realize that there is a necessity for all to earn and these seemingly dichotomous facts must be balanced somehow. I don’t see that government intrusion is the answer as I have never noticed government to be able to make a real go of anything. In the past the “free enterprise” system could, and usually did, manage to reach a workable compromise between what was wanted and what was necessary in a real, functioning society. The internet is composed of people, equipment and other such that require various forms of “maintenance”, most of which isn’t free. Again I don’t believe government tariffs or regulations can, or will, solve this. The ultimate solution should be left to the people who avail themselves of the convenience of what’s available on the internet. We, as a logical,thinking society of the internet, can reach our own compromises without government control. Our government, in my opinion, simply sees this as another point of ingress into our lives to ultimately exert control and gain financial gain for themselves and this shouldn’t be allowed.

    Reply

    1. Dave Harmon wrote on

      The thing is, we do have alternatives existing and developing — they just get consistently marginalized or co-opted by the big players. (Heard of DreamWidth lately? They’re the refugees from LiveJournal.) Even now, there are plenty of small communities and interest groups around. Some of them even have subscription models to cover costs — but it’s hard to compete with “free”, especially when you can’t get publicity or even visibility. The big ad-supported platforms don’t need to explicitly shut down the upstarts, a “death of a thousand cuts” can easily keep the riffraff from becoming actual competitors. All you need to pay is your privacy, your security, and (as Ms. Palmer notes) your choices in how to relate to your audience.

      It’s a lot harder to be an independent journalist or pundit when paying the rent requires appealing to “everyone”, not just to your own natural audience. Consider that Ms. Palmer’s music isn’t much to my taste — so I saw this excellent article only because it wasn’t posted on Facebook, but on a blog from one of the few surviving open-source outfits, whose software I happen to use. I just checked Google, and nope — Google “Amanda Palmer”, and right up on the first page I see titles like “visionary or egotist?”, “The Amanda Palmer Problem”, “Most Hated Woman On The Internet” (sorry, lots of women get hated on the Internet). I don’t see this article froma week ago — not on the first page, not on the second, not on the third. “Related searches” include her music, and even her husband, but not her views.

      Net neutrality is the only hope for a revolution from below, or even for the outsider’s voices to be heard without knuckling under to the big forums. So naturally, the big guys want to crush it.

      Reply

  10. Don wrote on

    I’ve made a choice to stay away from Facebook and Twitter and all the anti-social medias about 8 years ago. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I cringe anytime someone leans over giggling to share with me the meme of the moment from the magic attention vacuum resting in the palm of their hand.

    Let it be known, I think Facebook is evil. It is a life sucking hive mind manipulator. This article is speculating she may not have met Trent Reznor with out the internet. We’ll never know. She didn’t met him on facebook. She’s praising Facebook because it’s a revenue stream for her regardless of her conflicts in using it. One thought I had in reading this is “what happened to your email list?” “Why aren’t you building on that?” “Have you become lazy because of the ease of these platforms?”

    I don’t know, I need to go and make a phone call right now. I got a lead to teach art to disabled and at risk youth. I would never have found this lead on the internet. I found it by showing up at an open art studio at my public library on Wednesdays. I take my niece there to unplug her from this techno crap. Oh yeah, I also volunteer up at the high school welding shop. We’re working to bridge the trades with the arts. Metal sculptures and what not. Guess what? I didn’t find that gig on the internet either. I had to make eye contact with people, ask questions then do stuff then ask more questions then do more stuff. You might be surprised but there’s a bunch of life going on outside the internet. Gotta go.

    Reply

    1. John Hao wrote on

      I must say that Facebook is not evil. On the contrary, it makes people happier, which is why people use it in the first place. Thus since happiness is the ultimate goal of human life, Facebook is not evil.

      Reply

  11. Cerulean wrote on

    The title says : Repeal Net Neutrality (on email from Mozilla, this article linked). So that seems misleading.
    Keep Net Neutrality, correct? Regain the Neutral Net. Are they using short-word for the name of the bill? Detail needs to be sharp!

    Reply

    1. Kohlrak wrote on

      The real irony is that Comcast is one of the groups behind net neutrality, while simultaneously being constantly cited as the need for it. The truth of the matter is, companies are trying to be authorities of the internet, and now suddenly we’re trusting the government to pass legislation that focuses on free speech, instead of government being the authority? The youtube, facebook, and twitter censorship isn’t enough for people to see that this ends in anything but free speech? Why should we ever let any government, whose goal is to control people, have access to govern our last remaining free-speech medium? No, we need to work on making the general population less apathetic to these issues in general, then capitalism will put companies in their places.

      Reply

  12. Rob wrote on

    I’m with you Amanda. I once joined Facebook and immediately received a comment ‘I didn’t realise you were THAT old’. That introduced me to a world where information can be used and abused at will. (I then spent a week trying to leave it.)
    But Don’s comment about building on your e-mail list is about to become much harder in Europe. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect on 25th May requires you to get a positive request from everyone specifically permitting their details to be kept.
    Great for weeding out many unwanted ads from people who have bought email lists, but not so good for struggling individuals who need to be able to contact a fan base.

    Reply

  13. Kohlrak wrote on

    Overall, this author is not even making an argument, just complaining about how things have become, and somehow “net neutrality” is going to fix it, and also solve the issues of the trolls and other things which have worked together to make the internet great. Sounds to me less like free speech and more like “Hey, big brother, come in and protect me from the evil people that I don’t like, and please promise me you’ll never turn your powers on me.” Comcast, the constant example of why we supposedly need net neutrality, is one of the founders of it, which should be a dead giveaway that they have their hands in it on how they can twist it to their favor. This is more or less going to add to the censorship we’re seeing on the internet. What “fake news” will they choose to censor? Could it be that we don’t need cable TV as long as we have internet? Could it be anything political? Could it be “i’m voting for Trump?” This sounds like a grand idea, indeed. Guaranteed, this would only aide to further establishing a centralized internet.

    Reply

  14. Stella wrote on

    Please, don’t do it. It is your kid for crying out loud.
    You have the following options:
    1. Why not use a cute pic of another kid whose parents were reckless enough to put it out there?
    2. Don’t do it. At all. F Facebook. Find another way to sell out the show.

    Reply

  15. Amy Schumer wrote on

    This article needs some serious clarifications.

    First of all, the notion that ISPs are going to favor certain websites and services was only ever a theory — or maybe more accurately a sensationalist scare tactic. There have never been any actual plans detailed by any ISP to do that. The internet existed before net neutrality and we never had any of those things; what we DID have were RECENT cases in which carriers like Comcast and Verizon blatantly ignored net neutrality policies and committed some underhanded things — but they did that WITH net neutrality in place, so apparently it didn’t deter them. Of course, now that you’ve given them all these ideas, who knows, but…

    More importantly, the notion that the Facebooks and Instagrams aren’t the problem is just plain wrong and Palmer illustrated it herself with this story: clickbait, algorithmically-controlled virality, and “fake news” (what little of it actually exists) ARE a result of social media giants. It was largely Facebook that enabled these concepts, and that’s still where they thrive. (And a note on “fake news”: this has been common as ‘advertorials’ for at least the past 10 years thanks to affiliate marketers shilling wrinkle creams and scammy diet products but nobody ever cared about these, they only started to care about fake news when it began to be framed as part of the Trump-got-elected-by-the-Russians story.)

    And don’t get me started on “mature”, “sophisticated”, “compassionate” and the other euphemisms that have no place in a description of something like the internet, because I know what that means. No no and no; the internet is either freely available to everyone or it’s not, and unfortunately that includes the con-artists, liars, trolls, maniacs, and the dreaded Republicans you love. It’s not just for obnoxious feminists, not-for-profits with agendas, or indie bands, and as soon as you start trying to marginalize anybody, it’s going to come off as truth-shaping because, surprise, that’s what it is.

    Amanda, be glad you get to do this for a living, because there are a lot of people who really don’t care whether your band thrives or you end up working at Starbucks. Indie bands — hell, all of music, really — is not that important to the function of our society. And I’m saying that as an artist who wishes that people cared more about this kind of thing. But they don’t, because at the end of the day we all know it’s petty entertainment that we use as distractions from the more important but much less fun things that we’re supposed to be doing.

    Reply

  16. Charles wrote on

    Great article. Back when the Dresden Dolls first came into being, I recall playing you on a college radio show I did out of Long Beach, CA. last year I went back to volunteer, ended up resurrecting the show. As part of that, I had to create all forms of media accounts. Think Twitter was the most painful, and I still barely touch it. But to your great points, and article, anything that is meant to enhance our humanity needs to remain accessible and even handed. Sadly, it’s all trolls and clickbait…..it paints a very dark future, one artists like yourself are a bright resonance against!

    Charles – The Indieshop

    Reply

  17. deanna wrote on

    you guys are so clueless..net neutrality means government regulation. It has a nice title, but look inside of the actual legislation smh

    Reply

  18. PAUL G. FINSTER (German) wrote on

    Never did I have anything to do with – FACEBOOK, TWITTER or any of the OTHERS because I do not believe in having TRASH in my home!

    Reply

    1. ANSHU wrote on

      bad garl

      Reply

  19. Gabs wrote on

    Ah, I was so excited to see Amanda Palmer chime in on this. XD I was not expecting one of my favorite artists to suddenly pop up on Mozilla.

    Net neutrality keeps the Internet from turning into a shakedown. Instead of everyone getting equal footing from the beginning, without net neutrality you’d have to pay for equality (which means it’s not equal anymore.) What might that look like? Let’s say you need the Internet to help you reach customers to buy your custom made jewelry. Right now you could go to pretty much any part of the Internet and either post about it free on a social network site, pay advertising to be seen more on certain sites, you could make a website as a store front, or you could join a platform where you can sell your jewelry with others. There is a plethora of options because everyone has an equal footing. But what if only certain platforms had the ability to be seen by your computer? What if certain websites couldn’t load because their bandwidth limits were throttled? What if other website loaded super fast–or just the way you’re used to now–while all other sites loaded so slow it would feel like you were back on dial-up listening to the modem screech? What if certain websites were discriminated against because of religious, social, or sexual content and just disappeared from the Internet overnight because the Internet providers cut the bandwidth only on those websites?

    What if the only Internet you woke up to tomorrow was one big advertisement for Amazon or Fox or Youtube or CNN or Facebook and all the other sites just weren’t there anymore? Or they were, but they’re pixelated, won’t load, and are constantly asking for donations because they can’t afford to stay in business? The Internet put the magazine and newspaper market out of business when it wasn’t even trying. Amazon grew into a trillion dollar company because of the Internet. This isn’t just emailing your mom we’re talking about. There is a huge, vibrant commerce system here that is currently held in some order by the fact that everyone has a possibility of joining in on equal footing. Don’t expect for a moment big business–or just one really rich person with an agenda–won’t come in and try to force the system to suit their needs the moment they get a chance.

    Without net neutrality, Internet providers would be allowed to pick and choose what platforms and websites can handle heavy traffic (or any traffic) and it could be decided through favoritism, content ‘value,’ and obviously money. Your computer specs, connection, or if you paid your Internet bill wouldn’t be what plays into if a websites loads or not; it would be all up to the service provider to decide if every website out there is viable or not. The Internet would no longer be for everyone, but for those who can pay the premium price, and that price would be tacked on to the consumer. If that hypothetical jewelry seller has to pay an extra $200 a month just to join a hosting company that will load their website well enough to be workable, that means they’ll up their prices to the consumer or end up going out of business because they can’t compete.

    And those platforms who host someone like the jewelry seller–I don’t know if you realize the cost to host a website, but it’s not free–they will up their costs to make profit to the sudden increase in doing business. The same way if gas prices went up, the cost of shipping would go up and therefore the cost of goods would rise that the consumer then pays, so to would all costs rise when adding a competitive edge to getting on the Internet.

    Right now, consumers have the power. Internet providers want to give people the best deal, or the most value smart option so they’ll be chosen over competitors. This is because they’re all on equal footing and are limited in how they can price. They can’t offer the ‘fast’ Internet to only the premium payers; they can only provide the best to everyone. If they don’t provide the best, consumers can just go somewhere else. The moment that changes, businesses looking to make money will naturally charge what they want and provide less to those who won’t pay. There will always be someone out there willing to pay the higher price while the rest of the masses are left out of the fun. Big business doesn’t care if you won’t be able to afford the Internet when before you could; they just want to make their money (and sometimes push their agendas in the process.)

    This isn’t about big government trying to stifle creativity and competition in the market; this is about making sure everyone can use the Internet including free services such as public libraries and coffee shops, which could stop if the costs grew too great. If net neutrality disappears and big business starts showing their ugly side, only those with money will be able to utilize the Internet, while those struggling will lose all the fun and connection the Internet provides.

    Just what would the Internet look like if big business was able to make their own? Would anyone ever want to give up the Internet we have (already so corrupted by the monetization of our every piece of meta data as it is) to jump over to what big business would think is how the Internet should be? Do you want to pay a dollar just to post something to Facebook? Right now every small business owner on Facebook who depends on followers to read their posts (such as Amanda) has to shell out $5-10 for those followers to even be notified, and this is with net neutrality in place. Facebook is a great example of what the Internet will turn into when it’s there just to make money instead of reaching out and connecting and sharing with people. Many might only see the cat pictures their friend posted and not think much about how they’re suddenly getting targeted ads for acne cream when they posted about some zit last week, but there are millions to billions to trillions of dollars being made, and the little guy–all of us–will end up feeling the pain when someone makes a move to get that money all for themselves.

    Reply

  20. John Hao wrote on

    I’d certainly say that this is against the free market, and since we all know that the free market should control it all, I am against this “Net Neutrality”. I believe that the Country should not interfere with the internet, but that individual businesses should.

    Reply

  21. Seb wrote on

    Seriously, don’t post that picture, particularly when there are commercial undertones. There is precedent for parents getting sued by their kids for stuff like that (the world we live in, right?).

    My fear is that those in favor of net neutrality will simply be sidelined by the political machine in Washington, and no matter how loud and how ardent we are in advocating net neutrality, the internet is just one corrupt FCC chief away from becoming an infinite maze of clickbait-fuelled algorithms. Doesn’t mean we should stop trying, but how involved are any of us in politics (not writing letters to political representatives, but where it matters: advocacy, lobbying, $$) anyway? Net neutrality needs a disgustingly rich champion(s) to become reality, and I’m not sure that one will be forthcoming.

    Another big potential problem is consolidation of the ISP market. That paywall you were talking about… well what’s the difference if your ISP (the only one in town for many people) is charging an exorbitant monthly fee? And what happens when the anti-trust laws get bypassed (as they have been already in other industries)?

    Reply

  22. mike wrote on

    Reality is one-eighty away from this meme. This is a classic case of misnaming and misinforming, “net-nutrality” accomplishes both.

    “Net Neutrality” is anything but neutral. The people who bring content to the “Edge Providers” (like FB, Google etc.) are the only ones who must be neutral. the Edge Providers can slowdown/speed up/hide/promote whatever they want with “Net Neutrality.” The “End User,” often the people who actually create the content that Edge Providers disseminate, have no say in how the content they create or consume is distributed by the Edge Providers.

    In real world transactions the availability and price of a product has nothing to do with the road (the ISP) that the customer traveled to get to a location. With “Net-Neutrality” an algorithm (and/or person) changes the availability and price of the item based on unknown bias and conceptions of what you should pay based on your consumption habits, political views or any other metric the edge provider feels like including in SERPS, Ads and content.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/10/31/does-the-fcc-really-not-get-it-about-the-internet/

    https://yro.slashdot.org/story/14/11/02/1333232/real-net-neutrality-problem-edge-provider-vs-end-user

    Reply

  23. Justin C wrote on

    “Net Neutrality” is a misnomer. It is the exact opposite of what it proclaims to be, much like the “Patriot Act” or “Affordable Care Act”. It is effectively Orwellian doublespeak.

    Net Neutrality actually means “government telling people and businesses how they ought to use the web”. It is the exact opposite of a “free and open internet”. It is a government controlled internet.

    Granted, local governments already control the internet by giving preference to specific ISPs in their area in order to entice them to develop their area.

    But this is a local issue, and if it is a real problem, it should be addressed at a local level, not the federal level.

    Reply

    1. Geoffw wrote on

      Wow! Virtually nothing you posted is correct. You basically repeat the talking points of major ISPs who want to control access to content to increase their bottom line. Net Neutrality says that ISPs have to provide full access to all of the content on the Internet without creating preferences or extra costs to access some content. Educate yourself rather than misinforming others.

      Reply

  24. Martin wrote on

    Amanda, you are awesome, simply amazing! Thumbs up!

    Reply

  25. Tim Burr wrote on

    Music says it all:
    “Coin operated boy, sitting on the shelf
    He is just a toy but I turn him on and he comes to life
    Automatic joy that is why I want ”

    Automatic joy generated by click ads. Unfortunately techy people have their social pecking order and perhaps this is a means of getting back at the trauma they suffered in high school. Unbalanced education, leads to unbalanced choices, leads to unbalanced societies. On the other end of the spectrum you have pretty boys with minimal matter between the years but good eye candy. Go take a look at other parts of the word where techy break neck speed development (literally) lead to a lot of societal ills. We are teaching a generation of kids to be glued to their “smart” phones when in reality what it is achieving is the dumbing down of people. Try navigating without Google maps and from memory–and see how that works out. Moderation is key in everything in life.

    Reply

  26. Ryan wrote on

    I came here for baby pics 🙁

    Reply

  27. Pengurusan Inc. wrote on

    Hmm.. I think my colleague can understand deeper of what u really meant here, Amanda. I’ll forward to him for review.

    Reply

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