If you boot up Netflix today, don’t be surprised if you see a big buffering wheel spinning away.
The buffering animation, which appears at both Netflix’s login and home screen, won’t actually affect your streaming speed, but it is there for a purpose.
The spinning wheel switches between saying “If there were internet slow lanes, you’d still be waiting” and “Protect internet freedom, defend net neutrality,” which is eye-catching — and that’s the point.
It’s all a part of a protest against a recent proposal from the Federal Communications Commission that would open the door for internet service providers to charge consumers more for “prioritised” data.
In theory, the new FCC proposal would enable companies like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon to charge a fee to highly frequented websites (like Netflix) to ensure they were part of an internet “fast lane.” If a website chooses not to pay up, internet providers could then deliberately slow down internet speeds to that website, prioritizing those that pay.
That’s why Netflix, Twitter, Kickstarter, Reddit, Mozilla, WordPress, and a host of other websites are protesting the FCC’s proposal, rallying instead for an open internet where all websites are treated equally.
When you click on the pop-up buffering wheel, you’re brought to the homepage for “Battle For The Net,” an activist website that invites users to “Join the battle for net neutrality” and shows users how to send a letter lawmakers in protest.
The internet slowdown protest is scheduled to last until tomorrow, so if you’re annoyed by the spinning pop-up, you won’t have to wait for long until Netflix is back to normal.
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