Twitter Backs Net Neutrality with Public Post

February 24, 2015
By: Steve Anderson

Net Neutrality is a concept that's gone back and forth for some time now, polarizing discussions just about everywhere it goes. While some have come out against plans to launch net neutrality programs, others have come out in favor. Recently, the “in favor” camp got something of a boost thanks to a new blog post from Twitter (News - Alert), where it made it clear that it had “faved #NetNeutrality.”

The post in question cemented Twitter's position on the concept of net neutrality, detailing the vital importance of maintaining the “...historic open architecture of the Internet,” to keep the American economy as we know it up and running. Twitter also noted that the ability to “innovate without permission” was a central part of that economy, and without net neutrality principles in place, there would not only be economic risks, but also risks to the freedom of expression that has been a guiding principle of life in the United States since its creation.

Twitter, meanwhile, noted that its own operations were a major part of such enterprise, pointing out that it has helped to “empower...historically less powerful voices to express themselves and be heard globally...”, a development that few could doubt is the case. With Twitter used not only as a means of self-expression but also as a means of promoting thought and even property with other users, there's little doubt that Twitter as we know it is one of the purest sounding boards around for free expression.

Yet Twitter also notes the converse; in a world without net neutrality principles, many of the biggest Internet companies around wouldn't even have been able to start, as the converse of net neutrality principles have a tendency to favor larger, more entrenched organizations with more capital, who are able to buy more bandwidth to get the message out.

However, even Twitter understands the nature of capitalism as it extends to Internet service providers, who have the most to lose if net neutrality practices go through. Twitter points out the “virtuous circle” of innovation, in which increased user adoption leads to increased network usage, with more users signing on and paying the standard monthly fees for access. With more users signing up and paying in, networks can invest in capacity and provide more opportunities for use, which means more users signing up and paying in.

The problem with net neutrality as it's known today is that, to a lot of people, it seems like a matter of trying to pick the choice that's least harmful, not the choice that improves lives. To those opposed to net neutrality, the idea of the government—here in the form of the FCC (News - Alert)—having control over its development and the like seems unconscionable; the government historically has not been known as a center of efficiency and innovation so much as it's more widely known as a huge waste of time and money. Yet to those in favor of net neutrality, the converse is just as bad; allowing organizations like Comcast (News - Alert)—who routinely seem to end up on the bad end of stories about how terrible customer service is, like with the Ryan Block incident—to control access seems like a great way to go nowhere fast unless you've got still more money to throw at said ISPs. Given how difficult it is to find competition in the ISP market—in some cases it's outright impossible—the end result would be almost as bad as the government in charge.

Only time will tell just how this ends up, and for many, there aren't many ways it can end well. For Twitter, however, the answer is clear: net neutrality is ultimately the way to go.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi