Right-wing pundits and social media personalities celebrated the repeal of “net neutrality” rules today, despite the fact that the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to undo the Obama-era internet regulations could negatively affect their own platforms.
Earlier today, the FCC voted 3-2 to repeal Obama-era regulations—often referred to as “net neutrality” rules—that prevented internet providers from blocking, throttling, or giving preferential bandwidth to websites. Many large websites, as well as 83 percent of Americans, opposed the repeal and sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Reddit and Netflix launched public awareness campaigns to rally against it.
But some “New Right” pundits and right-wing activists on the internet encouraged the repeal, arguing that it would be a major blow to the social media companies that right-wing personalities claim enforce policies that marginalize the voices of conservatives while promoting the accounts of liberals. Many pundits argued that net neutrality regulations were “a scam” orchestrated by corporate tech companies to maintain their market share and encouraged followers to lobby the FCC for their repeal.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai promoted this narrative, publicly accusing Twitter and other tech companies of being disingenuous for arguing for net neutrality when social media companies “routinely block or discriminate against content they don’t like.” Pai also appeared in a cringe-worthy video for the Daily Caller in which he claimed that after the repeal of net neutrality, users would still be able to do everything they previously could online.
Mike Cernovich, Infowars contributor and self-proclaimed “New Right” activist, was incredibly vocal in his support for the repeal and transparent in his motivations. In a live stream video uploaded to Periscope, he explained that he supported the repeal because social media companies that supported net neutrality didn’t exercise “content neutrality.”
Cernovich explained, “We’re not treated equally. We’re not treated neutrally. We could have stopped net neutrality from being abolished. So this is kind of a lesson, you know. If you want to censor people, then we don’t care if you get censored.”
I was pro- #NetNeutrality until social media companies decided to stop treating their own users neutrally. They destroyed the idea of a free and open Internet.
— Mike Cernovich 🇺🇸 (@Cernovich) December 14, 2017
Pro-Trump pundit and “Pizzagate” truther Jack Posobiec, who once circulated bogus flyers in an attempt to frame a rally in favor of net neutrality as endorsing satanic and violent pornography, mocked people who were outraged at the repeal:
Pretty interesting to see this vote about net neutrality for repeal of cncjjcjcndmxjcjxuhdmekskf$;;&,@?’[email protected]&@&.8:7:7:7:$:&/9/7:$:$$)&)$)&)&&$)$8$)@@@!?$&$
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) December 14, 2017
When news broke about the repeal today, Infowars host Alex Jones dove into a rant about the censorship he says he has experienced from social media companies and wondered how “the public is so stupid” that they believe there was ever such a thing as an “open, free” internet.
“Have you enjoyed the record censorship? Have you enjoyed the record-low speeds for libertarian and patriot sites, or not being able to get to them? Have you enjoyed all the internet and ISP companies kicking conservatives and libertarians off their domain registrar? I mean, baby, that’s not having an open, free internet. That’s killing net neutrality,” Jones said.
But, oddly enough, Jones seemed to (partially) understand the consequences of the repeal.
“The big telecoms Time Warner and AT&T, they’re villains as well. They’ve just been getting shafted the last eight, nine years by Google and Facebook and Twitter, so they’re going, ‘Oh, we need to replace it with something now,’ and then a lot of that has bad stuff in it. And a lot of that is just classic, ‘We’re going to charge you more when you go over our network or charge you more to have better connections and all the rest of it, but kind of give you a list of forced things you’re going to look at on the front page. That’s already going on, and we’re against that.”
Across right-wing boards on 4chan and Reddit, users collectively cheered the FCC’s repeal decision, sharing screenshots of net neutrality supporters aghast at the decision and heralding “based regulation slayer Ajit Pai.”