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Join the Fight for #NetNeutrality

By Lauren Culbertson

The Internet is the most successful medium for innovation and free expression ever invented.

This success has been built upon the Internet’s open architecture, the ability of entrepreneurs to innovate without asking permission, and for such innovators to do so without fear of discrimination.  In general, these principles mean that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are obligated to treat and transmit all bits equally, regardless of origin, content, or destination. Net Neutrality is foundational to competitive, free enterprise, entrepreneurial market entry – and reaching global customers.  You don’t have to be a big shot to compete. Anyone with a great idea, a unique perspective to share, and a compelling vision can get in the game.

Without the guiding principles of Net Neutrality, it is entirely possible Twitter would not have come from a somewhat quirky experimental 140-character SMS service to where we are today, an international company with thousands of employees and a service that incorporates pictures, video, and live streaming and connects the world to every side of what’s happening.

Net Neutrality is essential for the more than 3.2 billion people across the globe who use the Internet, which touches nearly all aspects of the global economy.  In the U.S. economy alone, with an estimated 274 million smartphones and tablets and millions of residential and business broadband connections, the Internet fueled approximately 6% of GDP in 2014 according to a recent Internet Association economic paper.

The Open Internet rules put in place by the FCC in 2015 are based upon a solid legal framework that has been sustained by the courts. The FCC Net Neutrality rules effectively safeguard the open Internet as an engine of innovation and investment and as a global platform for free expression.

Notwithstanding the unbridled economic and innovative activity unleashed by the open Internet, the FCC is moving quickly through a rulemaking process to gut the core entrepreneurial and consumer protections that are the heart of the innovation economy.

The FCC should abandon its misguided effort to obviate all the work that has been done on behalf of all Internet users.

Supporting Free Speech and Expression Online

Free expression is part of our company DNA.  We are the platform that lets users see what’s happening and to see all sides. Whether it be music, sports, news or entertainment, being able to see every side of a topic makes Twitter unlike any other platform or service in the world.  

Net Neutrality is one of the most important free expression issues of our time because without Net Neutrality, ISPs would be able to charge content providers more to access the Internet or to reach other users, frustrating the free flow of information.  Moreover, without Net Neutrality in force, ISPs would even be able to block content they don’t like, reject apps and content that compete with their own offerings, and arbitrarily discriminate against particular content providers by prioritizing certain Internet traffic over theirs. This is especially critical for smaller and noncommercial voices, who would be unable to pay a new ISP broadband toll for “fast lane” service.  Relegating certain content to the backwaters of the Internet in second or third-tier status reduces the visibility and impact of important voices in the local, national, or global media mix.

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Stopping Discriminatory Behavior Before It Starts

Importantly, the enforcement regime established in 2015 creates clear enforceable rules that enable federal regulators to stop bad behavior before it can do damage. Under the alternative enforcement regime that the FCC is considering, the FCC wouldn’t be able to act until damage had already been done.  In that scenario, a content provider or tech entrepreneur would have to go through a lengthy, often years-long process to prove they have been treated unfairly by an ISP. Few startups and small businesses would have the funds and time to survive the process.

Day Of Action

July 12, 2017, is a Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality and we are joining other high tech companies and the netroots community to encourage people to let the FCC know their opinion. Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #NetNeutrality. If you would like to submit a comment for the record with the FCC, you can click this link and click on “Express” to get started.

 

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@lculbs

Lauren Culbertson

‎@lculbs‎

Public Policy Manager, Twitter

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