If you’ve been browsing sites like Reddit, Netflix, Etsy, or Digg today, you’ve probably noticed a spinning “loading” icon, that dreaded symbol of a slow website colloquially known as the “spinning wheel of death.” It’s not a glitch: Today is #InternetSlowDown Day, a concerted effort from sites across the web to bring attention to the issue of net neutrality.
The idea is to get the denizens of the internet to contact the Federal Communications Commission about their May 15 proposal that essentially makes the internet into a place with slow and fast lanes, where service providers woudl require companies to pay more for their sites to load. Under these new rules, those who couldn’t cough up will be relegated to slower-loading sites. In case you need a primer on why this is bad news, there’s this widely-circulated John Oliver clip that pretty accurately sums it up:
The internet is the place where many of us work, communicate, bank, and learn weird facts about orca whales. Changing the dynamic of the way that data is available is a big deal because it it would make the internet a worse place for almost everyone, plus make it much harder to access those videos of elephants blowing bubbles in a baby pool. You can sign a petition against the regulations here.