Predictions About Net Neutrality Did Not Come to Pass

Predictions About Net Neutrality Did Not Come to Pass

In 2015, the Obama administration implemented an arcane rule that prohibited Internet service providers from charging consumers more for access to certain content providers or providing preferential access to some websites over others: “Net Neutrality.” In 2018, the Federal Communications Commission under Chairman Ajit Pai reversed that rule. Judging from the response, you would think he committed a war crime.

Egged on by entertainers like HBO's John Oliver, who organized opposition to Net Neutrality's repeal through his the provocatively named website “GoFCCYourself,” Internet users bombarded the regulatory agency and its chairman with threats and racial agitation. Pai was called a “dirty, sneaky Indian” and warned not to offend those with the “power to murder Ajit Pai and his family.” These intimidation tactics must not have seemed idle to Pai. Protesters set up vigils in the Pai family's driveway, harassed his wife and children in their homes and around their neighborhood, and put their names on signs accompanied by veiled threats. “They will come to know the truth,” one menacing sign read, “Dad murdered democracy in cold blood.”

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