On December 14, 2017, net neutrality in the United States was eliminated. The FCC voted 3 to 2 to remove Title II regulations. Many people wanted the issue of net neutrality explained to them in clear terms. Though some people tried to summarize what would happen after the reversal, it seemed there was a lot of misinformation floating around.
In trying to explain net neutrality, a number of sources were presenting scenarios that just would not happen. Typically these explanations presented the scenario that with the end of net neutrality would come paid subscriptions to sites like Twitter and individual charges for Google searches. However, this was simply not true, and the issue was actually more complicated.
One Twitter user attempted to explain net neutrality and the issues that will arise from its reversal. A series of tweets from @jtm_ outline exactly what will happen and who will be affected by the net neutrality reversal. As far as having net neutrality explained in clear terms, this may be the best source available right now.
The reason the general public needed net neutrality explained in more clear terms was because of misunderstanding of what the reversal would actually mean for them.
This is where Twitter user @jtm_ comes in. As a Parisian data scientist, he has a familiarity with technology and wanted to clear up some misconceptions regarding net neutrality.
@jtm_ begins with a quick summary of what net neutrality is and what it means for the internet. Essentially, it keeps internet traffic and data democratic.
He continues by explaining that there is no discrimination when it comes to the content of data or traffic. In moving from one point to another, all data is treated equally.
This non-discrimination of data is a good thing because it allows for one of the key principles of capitalism: competition. Competition means companies will work hard to innovate.
@jtm_ understands that to have net neutrality explained properly, he has to start with listing some of the technical innovations that have come out of a neutral internet.
The net neutrality reversal does not mean paying for Google and Twitter. What it means is that smaller companies will have a harder time trying to break into the industry.
This is the most important part of net neutrality explained in clear terms: the reversal would kill innovation and create unnecessary struggles for new services.
@jtm_ then states in very clear terms that the end of net neutrality is not only an innovation killer but puts freedom of speech and freedom of information at risk as well.
The aspect of net neutrality explained in this tweet is that mainstream websites will not be the ones to suffer. It will be the smaller, lesser known websites that struggle.
While having access to larger sites like Facebook, Google, and Twitter without hindrance is good, it is not worth shutting out smaller competitors from the marketplace.
Furthermore, there is a much more sinister aspect to the end of net neutrality. It has to do with the discrimination of information. How does that work exactly?
Having the end of net neutrality explained by comparing it to the idea of having your mail read by a third party makes the whole thing seem much scarier.
The net neutrality reversal would allow for an entirely new system wherein all information sent on the internet could theoretically be inspected and read by other parties while in transit.
@jtm_ concludes with a message that misinformation is not the way to make things happen. If people want to explain net neutrality properly, they should know all of the facts.
The fight for net neutrality is not yet over, as companies, politicians, and citizens continue to protest the FCC decision. What will come of the net neutrality battle is yet to be seen.