If you are completely unaware of the current internet landscape, the web is in serious trouble.
How bad you may ask? The websites you love, visit, and support (including us) will be blocked by your internet provider if they deem us not fiscal enough to pay to be in their premium network. How can they do that, you ask? Well they can, once the the net becomes a pay to play field, local coverage would cease to exist. Comcast, AT&T, and other internet providers could essentially shut us down with the snap of their fingers.
Right now, this win is in jeopardy: Trump’s FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, wants to destroy Net Neutrality. In May, the FCC voted to let Pai’s internet-killing plan move forward. By the end of the summer, the agency was flooded with more than 20 million comments. The vast majority of people commenting urged the FCC to preserve the existing Net Neutrality rules. The consequences of losing Net Neutrality would be particularly devastating for marginalized communities media outlets have misrepresented or failed to serve. People of color, the LGBTQ community, indigenous peoples and religious minorities in the United States rely on the open internet to organize, access economic and educational opportunities, and fight back against systemic discrimination.
We had an editor's meeting about this and came to a consensus that we needed to share:
Tin Dinh, Digital Designer:
Net Neutrality does not only provide equality on the internet but it also provides a platform for minoritized and marginalized communities to tell their own stories. It allows activists all around to organize events with thousands of people in the street at a moment’s notice. This is mainly because the ISPs are not allowed to block their messages or website. We have witness this earlier this year with the many protests taking place post-election.
For years the mainstream media has misrepresented these vulnerable communities. The internet allows them to bypass traditional media controller. Without Net Neutrality, ISPs has the opportunity to take away a platform for dissident voices.
Anthony Rogers, Editor in Chief:
Let's just say it: we, I, you, they LOVE THE INTERNET. Everything from cute cats to the breaking news all over the world. The internet propels culture. We are culture, we live in it. When I started Bob Cut in 2015, I wanted to have a space for readers that they could come to and have the brain break. Where opinions, comments, and questions about their hyperlocal communities could we praised, lifted, and argued. We have cultivated a community where we can speak about community. Isn't that special?
Well, say goodbye to it. If Net Neutrality is crushed, your access to information that pertinent to your life is constricted and throttled. You will not be able to subscribe to your favorite sites unless they're in the "advertiser-friendly" category for whatever internet provider you use. No more cats, news, and resources. Is that a world you want to live in? Essentially backwards? No? We thought so. We need to be adamant on state senate leaders to fight for this issue. They are our only line of defense from not reverting back to the 70's. Have that be a lesson for you.
Isabella Welch, Editorial Assistant
A little history lesson for you, in the off chance you’ve forgotten this: immediate access to information has not always been available to us at our very fingertips. In fact, for the majority of history, information itself has been as a caste system– those whom it was available to prospered while others submitted to a life of little upward mobility. Now, I won’t make the lunge that everything on the internet is golden knowledge slowly changing the world for the better. Anyone who has used the internet knows this to be untrue. What the internet has stood for, however, is an untampered web equally accessible to all. Net neutrality, in that sense, is a cyber form of democracy. Or at least it has been, until now.
The ever-genius Gloria Steinem and Nonpartisan Peace explained the threat to net neutrality in the following words: “Imagine walking on certain sidewalks only if you pay. That is the way ISP's will be able to distance the less powerful forever. Large businesses will eat small businesses -- and with no legal recourse.”
In this way, the internet landscape will be irrevocably changed if net neutrality is repealed. Prejudices and monopolies will be able to exert power and silence other voices in a way they are unable to currently. This is a much larger issue than a slowed buffering speed or a “failed to load” pop-up. This is a tragedy of the cyber commons. Can I coin that phrase? Honestly, it seems to apply quite perfectly.
Matt Charnock, Managing Editor:
Freedom, in all its connotations, is a fickle thing. We take it for granted when it pops-up in our everyday lives; we feel a dagger slice into our hearts when we noticed there’s been a cardinal shift in our daily placings, in lieu of its omnipresence.
Speech, be it on or off the web, is a God-given right. Innovation is paramount to moving our societies forward. Creativity is the cornerstone of change, the very byproduct of living in a truly free society. And all of the above rest on the weighted laurels that our open and free internet rests on.
An abolishment of our net neutrality practices would, without question, cut those said larules into small, fragmented pieces, each to later be sold-off to the highest commercial bidder.
You see, we small, independent publishers compete in an equal market right now. We don’t have to pay dividends to run in digital “fast lanes”; our content travels across the internet at the same speed of, say, Facebook and Google pushed articles. This gives us the weighted relief to focus on providing you with hyperlocal content that you’re most likely to relate to and engage with. We don’t have to strain our alright tight schedules with tedious workings around the “slow lanes” we would otherwise find ourselves publishing in, should the internet be segmented off into speed-allocated niches.
Basically, we are free to write whatever the fuck we want. Because of the publishing ecosystem we, at present, find ourselves in. That would all change if net neutrality went to the wayside. Call your representatives, email your senators. Get into a political ruckus and let your voice heard that you, like us, would like to continue writing and editing and reading on a free, open, inclusive internet.
// We URGE you to sign this petition and let Trump's administration know their downfall. So what should you do about this now? BattleForTheNet.com has streamlined the process of reaching out to your congressmen and women. After that, call them. And no, calling is not a waste of time. Every time you call, consider it one more nail in the coffin of this ridiculous repealment.
We are the collective editors of Bob Cut Mag. We edit, write, and scour the internet for the cool of the cool. Email us? Editor@bobcutmag.com