Verizon Wireless blocks 4chan?

Although user reports about 4chan access on Verizon Wireless vary, the 4chan status blog reports that Verizon may have taken the inadvisable step of “explicitly” blocking the site.

4chan is famous in part for large scale retaliation against such censorship, and the internet is gleefully rubbing its sweaty palms together in anticipation of shenanigans against Verizon for blocking the popular imageboard. Moot has posted twice on the 4chan status blog seemingly confirming that the lack of access was a conscious decision by someone at Verizon:

Over the past 72 hours, we’ve been receiving reports from Verizon Wireless customers having difficulty accessing the image boards.

After investigating, we found that Verizon is dropping traffic to/from boards.4chan.org, only on port 80 (HTTP). No other subdomain/IP/port is affected, which leads us to believe this block is intentional.

A call was placed to their support staff last night, and we were told that the ticket would not be looked at until Monday at the earliest, and: “You’ll need the customer to call to request it be unblocked…”

If you’ve been affected by this block, please contact Verizon Wireless customer support. The numbers we were given are: “Verizon Wireless NRB: (866) 298-5373” and “Verizon Wireless DSO: (800) 770-1179”.

Note: Users with mobile browsers that proxy (BlackBerry, Opera) won’t necessarily have issues accessing the boards.

And the follow up:

After an hour and a half on the phone, we’ve received confirmation from Verizon’s Network Repair Bureau (NRB) that we are “explicitly blocked.”

If you’ve been affected by the block, please call Verizon NRB at (866) 298-5373 to file a complaint.

EDIT: If NRB can’t help you, try Verizon Wireless Support at (800) 922-0204.

The Washington Post reports that if the site was deliberately blocked due to off-color content, Verizon may be violating FCC rules:

If true, the move would violate guidelines by the Federal Communications Commission that prohibit Internet service providers such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast from shutting down Web sites for their subscribers. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is crafting controversial regulations that would make those principles stronger and allow the agency to punish companies that don’t treat all content equally on the Web.

However, a series of tweets just posted on the account of a man who describes himself as the “Verizon Wireless PR Guy” rapidly back away from the suggestion that the 4chan block was intentional:

@jlist No 4Chan block, but protecting network for users always top priority.

Buby23 4Chan has green-light again. Never a block on 4Chan but some of its other sites were launching network attacks.

@mediagadfly Some 4Chan web sites potentially disruptive of Verizon network now have green-light. We are monitoring network for harm

If that’s the position they’re taking, I hope they’ll take the time to explain why a representative for Verizon seems to have indicated otherwise.

Update: The PR rep above denies Verizon blocked 4chan for content:

Verizon doesn’t monitor wireless web connections for content, communication type or style. We will ward off attacks on our network.

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