We Need Your Voice As We Keep Fighting for Net Neutrality
When Steve and I created this site twelve years ago, our vision was simple but powerful. We wanted to create an open platform for communities and their members to find and discuss the content they found most interesting. And today, that principle is exactly what net neutrality is all about: preserving an open internet with consumer choice and unimpeded access to information.
Net neutrality ensures that the free market—not big cable—picks the winners and losers. This is a bipartisan issue, and we at Reddit will continue to fight for it. We’ve been here before, and this time we’re facing even worse odds.
But as we all know, you should never tell redditors the odds.
A level playing field
Net neutrality gives new ideas, online businesses, and up-and-coming sites—like Reddit was twelve years ago—the opportunity to find an audience and grow on a level playing field. Saving net neutrality is crucial for the future of entrepreneurship in the digital age.
We weren’t always in the top ten most-viewed sites in the U.S. When Steve and I started Reddit right out of college, we were just two kids with $12K in funding and some computers in Medford, MA. Our plan was to make something people wanted, because we knew if we accomplished that, we could win—even against massive incumbents.
But we wouldn’t have succeeded if users had to pay extra to visit our website, or if better-funded alternatives loaded faster. Our start-up got to live the American dream thanks to the open internet, and I want to be able to tell aspiring entrepreneurs with a straight face that they can build the next Reddit. If we lose net neutrality, I can’t tell them that.
We did it, Reddit, and we can do it again.
You all are capable of creating movements.
I’ve had a front-row seat to witness the power of Reddit communities to rally behind a common goal—starting when you all named a whale Mister Splashy Pants in 2007. It’s been heartening to watch your collective creativity and energy over the years; it’s easy to take all these amazing moments of community and conversation for granted, but the thing that makes them all possible is the open internet, which unites redditors as an issue above all.
Here’s a quick recap:
- In 2012, we coordinated with mods to black out the website to protest SOPA & PIPA. They called these two bills “inevitable” in DC until America spoke up and they became “unthinkable.”
- Then, you all crowdfunded a bus we took through the heartland to support the open internet.
- Back in 2014, you all rallied to deluge the FCC with thoughtful comments in support of net neutrality, and we collected your best comments for our own letter to the FCC.
- You crowdfunded $20,000 to put up net neutrality ads across DC.
- In the span of a few hours, you made over 15,000 phone calls to the FCC and your representatives!
And all of this actually worked.
It’s not just about the U.S., because redditors in India have used the site to defend net neutrality and the CRTC (the Canadian equivalent of the FCC) visited r/Canada for a thoughtful (and 99% upvoted!) discussion with citizens.
Reddit is simply too large to ignore, and you all did all of this when we were just a fraction of the size we are today.
Time to get back to work
We’re proud to join major internet companies like Amazon, Etsy, Twitter, and Netflix (better late than never!) in today’s Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality, orchestrated by Fight for the Future. We’ve already been hosting AMAs on the subject with politicians (like Senator Schatz) and journalists (like Brian Fung from the Washington Post). Today we’re changing our logo and sharing a special message from Steve, our CEO, with every visitor to our front page to raise awareness and send people to BattleForTheNet.com. Most exciting, dozens of communities on Reddit (with millions of subscribers) across party lines and interest areas have joined the cause. If your community hasn’t joined in yet, now’s the time! (And you’ll be in good company: u/Here_Comes_The_King is on our side.)
The FCC is deciding this issue the way big cable and ISPs want it to, so it’s on us as citizens to tell them—and our representatives in the Senate and House—how important the open internet is to our economy, our society, and especially for when we’re bored at work.
I invite everyone who cares about this across the internet to come talk about it with us on Reddit. Join the conversation, upvote stories about net neutrality’s importance to keep them top of mind, make a high-quality GIF or two, and, most importantly, contact the FCC to let them know why you care about protecting the open internet.
This is how we win: when every elected official realizes how vital net neutrality is to all of their constituents.