recommended reading

Battle For the Net To Wage War Across Your Browser

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai // Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

If you're clicking through all your favorite websites Wednesday, you might notice some familiar images popping up repeatedly. It may even appear the site is taking forever to load. Relax, it's not a problem with your Wi-Fi.

These sites, including Twitter, Amazon and Netflix, are participating in an online protest in favor of net neutrality, titled "Battle for the Net."

The protest falls five days before the Federal Communications Commission's first comment deadline on July 17. FCC originally placed net neutrality-style regulations on internet providers in 2015, but new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is looking to possibly undo most of those rules.

The protest hopes to keep most of the regulations and was initially organized by several advocacy groups including Fight for the Future, Demand Progress and Free Press. Hundreds of websites have also joined the cause, including Reddit, Etsy, GitHub, Pinterest and Dropbox, and will be featuring banners and temporarily page-covering messages that make the site appear slowed or closed down entirely.

Image via Battle for the Net

These notices are also designed to spur public engagement, as site visitors can file their comment immediately without leaving the site. Battle for the Net has also created "loading sign" social media avatars and other colorful images for sharing online.

Image via Battle for the Net

Several members of Congress are concerned about FCC's ability to handle the potential traffic this protest will cause. Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, wrote a letter to FCC asking it to prepare itself for a potential onslaught of comments. The senators cited an incident in May where FCC's website was flooded with traffic that crashed the comment portal.

There will be some websites absent from the protest, including Apple, AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook and Google.

By Caitlin Fairchild July 11, 2017

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov