Reddit and Pornhub among website collective to stage 'go slow' protest of US internet speed priority plans

A collective of the world’s largest websites are to stage a “go slow” protest day next week to fight US internet ‘fast-lane’ plans which could reshape the internet irreparably – giving priority speeds to higher paying broadband customers.

Groups such as Reddit, Etsy, FourSquare, KickStarter, Mozilla, Vimeo and Pornhub, are among those which will install specialised “loading” widgets on their sites to inform users that proposed US law reforms could slow down their internet services.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has come under fire as a result of its suggested ‘fast lane’ reform for higher paying customers, which has been dubbed by critics as a move which would contravene net-neutrality rules.

The scheme will give priority to higher paying customers’ web traffic – therefore creating a web inequality, with less affluent users receiving an inferior service.

Websites have been encouraged to spread the “spinning wheel of death” icon, designed by the “Battle for the Net” group.

The campaign was kickstarted by Californian tech lobby firm, Engine, with the help of internet pressure group, ‘Fight for the Future’, a site dedicated to protecting basic internet freedoms.

Evan Greer, co-founder of Fight for the Future, said: “Net neutrality is tough to explain to people, so we wanted to organize an action that actually shows the world what’s at stake. I think the three most hated words on the internet right now are ‘Please wait, loading…’

“Unless internet users unite in defense of net neutrality, we could be seeing those dreaded ‘loading’ wheels a lot more often on some of our favourite websites, while monopolistic companies get to decide which content gets seen by the most people.”

Julie Wood, a spokeswoman for Kickstarter, said: “We’re participating because the FCC’s fast lane proposal poses a real threat to companies like ours, and to the health and vibrancy of the Internet, both as an economic engine and as a place where ideas are exchanged.

“Kickstarter was built on the foundation of an open Internet, and we wouldn’t exist without it.”

Google, Netflix, Amazon and Facebook have spoken against the proposals but have not indicated if they will sign up for the protest.

The FCC will announce its final ruling at the end of the year. The EU on the other hand, in May backed a net neutrality bill to stop ISPs from altering the current system – it would however clash with the US proposal.

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