Netflix, Twitter and others protest FCC's net neutrality laws

Numerous online companies including Twitter, Netflix and Reddit will take part in an "Internet slowdown" protest in support of net neutrality on Wednesday.

The protest will see several firms display the spinning wheel, a symbol for slow loading speed, amid concerns that new regulations will result in extra charges for fast Internet access.

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Netflix announced via a Twitter post earlier this week that it would be displaying the icon and urged other firms to join the campaign to defend net neutrality.

In an interview with the BBC, a Twitter spokesman said, "We support the Internet Slowdown campaign and its efforts to draw public attention to a critically important issue. We're not planning to add a banner to our home page, but we'll participate in other ways."

However, the spokesman did not confirm the exact nature of the planned protest.

According to one of the organisers of the protest, major online firms including Free Press, Mozilla, Kickstarter and Automattic, which runs WordPress, will be joined in the demonstration by smaller organisations such as Thunderclap, Digg and Urban Dictionary.

Reddit general manager Erik Martin stressed how important the net neutrality debate is to both businesses and consumers.

"The cause of net neutrality is important to us as a business. It's important to our visitors, and it's important for our democracy. We're proud to take part in the Internet Slowdown and encourage others to join with us."

The protest follows the proposal by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that requires all telecom providers to ensure that "all users have access to an internet experience that is sufficiently robust, fast and effectively usable." The proposal also allowed content providers to charge for "prioritised" data delivery.

Since then, over 100 technology firms have written to the FCC objecting to the ruling, claiming that it allows Internet service providers to discriminate "technically and financially" against them.

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The companies assert that the new proposal "represents a grave threat to the Internet."