FCC's Ajit Pai: 'When it comes to an open Internet, Twitter is part of the problem'

FCC's Ajit Pai: 'When it comes to an open Internet, Twitter is part of the problem'
From TechCrunch - November 28, 2017

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, as part of the plan to promote his plan to undo the countrys net neutrality rules, has thrown Twitter and other online services under the bus in order to show that its not just broadband providers that can exert control over internet content. When it comes to an open Internet, Twitter is part of the problem, he explained. The company has a viewpoint and uses that viewpoint to discriminate.

Pais remarks were made at an event hosted by the free market think tank R Street Institute and the liberty-focused Lincoln Network. Pai was joined by the other two Republican Commissioners, Brendan Carr and Mike ORielly, and FTC Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen. Needless to say, none of them is a fan of the existing 2015 rules.

The Chairmans speech, which you can watch here along with the rest, began with a brief history and justification of the rollback. He specified exactly two downsides to the present rules: it decreases investment and it stifles innovation.

Neither of these things is true: the investment story is at best a mix and the numbers, like all numbers, can and have been cherry-picked to show different things. And the innovation thing is the same single example Pai has trotted out over and overCharter fretting over rolling out some out-of-home Wi-Fi thingand some vague obstacles faced by a number of smaller ISPs. (I actually contacted several of those ISPs earlier this year asking about how the 2015 order had affected them and none replied.)

Then Pai cited a few celebrity criticsCher, Mark Ruffalo, Alyssa Milanoand dismissed their complaints. Notably he did not address any substantive criticisms, like the FCCs incorrect interpretation of how the internet works, before turning his ire upon Silicon Valley.

He stated, as quoted above, that Twitter is part of the problem. After this followed some examples of platform partisanship:

Twitter blocked Representative Marsha Blackburn from advertising her Senate campaign launch video because it featured a pro-life message. Before that, during the so-called Day of Action, Twitter warned users that a link to a statement by one company on the topic of Internet regulation may be unsafe. And to say the least, the company appears to have a double standard when it comes to suspending or de-verifying conservative users accounts as opposed to those of liberal users. This conduct is many things, but it isnt fighting for an open Internet.

But its not the only one. Despite all the talk about the fear that broadband providers could decide what Internet content consumers can see, he said, Recent experience shows that so-called edge providers are in fact deciding what content they see. These providers routinely block or discriminate against content they dont like. (Emphasis Pais, in prepared remarks.)


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