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Etsy, Kickstarter, Reddit and Others Will "Slow Down" Sites as Protest

To be clear, the sites will not actually load more clearly, this is just a sort of symbolic protest.

Shutterstock/esbeauda

As a stand against the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s proposal on net neutrality, a group of popular websites will stage an “Internet Slowdown” on Sept. 10.

The plan is to overlay their sites with slow-to-load spinning icons. The point is to appeal to visitors to contact policymakers and complain about the notion of so-called “slow lanes” for delivering Web pages made by companies that don’t pay for fast service, a possible result of the current proposal.

To be clear, the sites will not actually load more slowly, this is just a sort of symbolic protest in the tradition of the highly effective SOPA blackout campaign in 2012.

But that little spinning icon likely has the power to evoke anxiety from Internet users who are all too familiar with it.

Participants include Automattic, Cheezburger, Dwolla, Etsy, Foursquare, General Assembly, Kickstarter, Meetup, Mozilla, Namecheap, Reddit and Vimeo. The campaign is being organized by Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, Free Press and Engine Advocacy.

Prominent skeptics of a structure that allows for Internet fast and slow lanes also include U.S. President Barack Obama and even FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. The FCC is still accepting public comment on its proposal until Sept. 15, with a final ruling possible this year.

So far, more than 1.1 million comments have been received, one of the largest hauls ever. An analysis by the Sunlight Foundation estimated that two thirds of comments objected to the idea of a two-tiered Internet and/or advocated for Internet service providers to be reclassified. Just 1 percent of comments clearly opposed net neutrality.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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