The Telling Twitter Reactions to Obama's Call for Net Neutrality

Politicians draw their battle lines on the microblogging site following the president's statement.

Photograph by Getty Images

Within moments of President Obama's call for the FCC to reclassify broadband networks as telecommunication services—thereby allowing for more federal regulation to insure that all content moves at the same speed on the Internet—politicians, activists, and companies took to Twitter to express support or outrage. 

The battle over net neutrality has heated up over the past few years, with Internet companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter all calling for the sort of measures Obama proposed Monday, and web-access providers like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon strongly coming out against being reclassified.

Advocates argue that the reclassification will prevent access providers from establishing a tiered payment system that they say would be both unfair and costly to consumers. Foes say a new regulatory framework would impede free-market investment and innovation. 

First, here was Obama's statement, which does not change any existing laws or regulation, but merely urges the FCC to do so:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKcjQPVwfDk

One of the biggest companies that would benefit from having broadband networks reclassified by the FCC is Netflix, the bandwidth-hungry streaming service. 

https://twitter.com/netflix/status/531848568001556481

 While Comcast and Time Warner Cable stayed quiet on Twitter regarding Obama's stance, the company's stock initially plummeted

Politicians, on the other hand, rarely miss an opportunity to tweet about the big news of the day, and Monday was no exception. Liberals were quick to praise Obama's full embrace of net neutrality:

https://twitter.com/SenWarren/status/531867058825609216

https://twitter.com/NancyPelosi/status/531849445873582082

https://twitter.com/BilldeBlasio/status/531873953568944128

Conservatives, on the other hand, were far less enthusiastic: 

https://twitter.com/SenTedCruz/status/531834493922189313

https://twitter.com/SpeakerBoehner/status/531885328517566466

https://twitter.com/McConnellPress/status/531881044069613569

As McConnell points out, the ultimate decision on whether to redefine how companies are classified rests with the FCC. While public opinion on this rather confusing issue may not prove all that illuminating in and of itsefl, there are some signs, including the fact that #NetNeutrality became a trending topic on Twitter, that many Americans side with Obama on the issue. 

https://twitter.com/SunFoundation/status/531833796274839552

 

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