Maybe you’ve noticed that today is a day of online protest. Or maybe you haven’t. Whether you realize that today marks a Day of Action in support of net neutrality depends entirely on what websites you visit—and how the companies behind those websites feel about the issue.
Organized by a coalition of pro-net neutrality non-profits, Wednesday’s Day of Action stand in opposition to the FCC’s plans to reverse Title II, a set of legal frameworks that prevent internet service providers from exerting too much control over your internet experience. Without Title II, ISPs could potentially slow your internet speed based on the websites you visit, or block certain services and websites all together. Not cool.
In response, the collective internet has rolled out various calls to actions that urge site visitors to file public comments and write letters to Congress asking their representatives to keep net neutrality protections intact. All told, more than 100,000 websites, organizations, and individual internet denizens are taking part.
Some companies, it turns out, protest more effectively than others. While websites like Kickstarter and Reddit went all out with full-page takeovers and interactive graphics, others took a more nuanced approach. Here’s how they stack up, from most to least outspoken.
The first thing you notice when you hit Reddit’s landing page isn’t the “front page of the internet.” Rather, it’s a message typed in turtle-speed that reads: “The internet’s less slow when your favorite sites load slowly, isn’t it?” Indeed. Once the message disappears, you’ll see in the top lefthand corner of the page that Redditors replaced the site’s alien logo with a fake, mildly dystopian alert: “Monthly Bandwidth Exceeded, Click to Upgrade.” No surprise that Reddit stands out among today’s protesters (its co-founders have long been vocal advocates for a free and open internet), but the sheer creativity Reddit deployed makes its message all the more clear.
You can’t miss Kickstarter’s Day of Action play. Before you can enter the crowdfunding website, it greets you with a bold statement that reads, “Defend Net Neutrality: Protect creativity, innovation, and free speech in the digital age. Keep the internet open for everyone.” Kickstarter has advocated for net neutrality for years, writing blog posts in the lead up to 2015’s Title II decision. Two years later, the company holds strong, this time with a message that’s brilliant in its simplicity. One glance, and there’s no mistaking where the company stands or what you can do to help.
In 2014, Netflix lead the way during Internet Slowdown Day, another coordinated online protest organized by the group behind a Day of Action. This year, the company has stepped up once again, with a banner that runs across the top of both its homepage and individual users’ landing pages. It’s hard to miss—which is the point!—and gives a clear indicator that while Netflix might not be as vocal as it once was on net neutrality’s importance, it still participates in the fight.
Vimeo and College Humor
Banners are great. Pop-ups, too. But if you’re a company like Vimeo or CollegeHumor, stick with what you do best: video. Today, both companies feature original shorts front and center on their home pages that explain net neutrality and how you can help protect it. To its credit, CollegeHumor went one step further, devoting three of its top positions to stories and videos about the topic.
Airbnb gave its support for net neutrality A1 status. Posted above “Experiences,” “Homes” and “Destinations” is a clear directive to get in touch with Congress–although you can still search for a vacation stay before you hit the Day of Action banner.
Normally Twitter’s top trending spot belongs to #Trump or #Kardashians, but today the service devoted its pole position to #NetNeutrality. Twitter’s public policy team also penned a blog post urging users to “join the fight for net neutrality.” Less effective than a highly-seen hashtag, maybe, but it does give great background on why Twitter cares and why you should, too.
Can’t find Amazon’s call to action? Look again. Yep, over there on the right rail, sandwiched in between an ad for Progressive and Amazon Music. Points for posting something. But if you’re having trouble finding the Everything Store’s minimalist ode to net neutrality, you’re not alone.
Mark Zuckerberg took time out of his small-town tour to pen a Facebook post on the company’s support of net neutrality date-marked from Sturgis, SD. Could the social media behemoth have used the massive reach of its News Feed to encourage users to get involved? Sure. But Zuck’s note manages to be efficient and supportive, which counts for something. At least his 93 million or so followers should see it.
The recommendation website changed its logo to temporarily include a spinning wheel of death—the unofficial logo for Day of Action. It’s cleverly subtle, but almost too subtle, since it’s lacking a direct call to action.
Google missed out on a golden doodle opportunity. Instead, the biggest player on the web wrote a blog post and sent an email to members of Take Action, a campaign dedicated to people who, presumably, already care about preserving an open internet. Its reluctance to dedicate homepage space to net neutrality might also have something to do with the company’s complicated relationship with the issues.