Net Neutrality Debate Heats Up: Porn Protests Coming Next Week

The debate over net neutrality is getting more intense, as internet porn sites are preparing to aggressively protest proposals that could selectively slow down internet speeds. Some of the most popular pornography websites will be joining in an Internet slowdown demonstration on Wednesday, September 10.

Pornhub and Redtube won’t be slowing down streaming adult videos, though. According to The Guardian, an expected 50 million porn patrons will be presented with a pop-up window displaying a widget that leads to battleforthenet.com, the online hub of the coordinated protests in favor of net neutrality. The Independent reports that YouPorn will also participate. The initial announcement on Reddit, posted by Katie_Pornhub, confirms their protest plans.

“We won’t be shutting down or streaming your porn slower,” wrote the Pornhub spokeswoman. “There will be a big in your face message that users will need to close.”

All three porn sites are owned by Mindgeek, a large conglomerate of entertainment sites, both adult and otherwise, that claims to be one of the top five bandwidth consumers in the world. They join Kickstarter, Reddit, FourSquare, Etsy, Vimeo and Mozilla in a grassroots demonstration to protest the Federal Communications Commission’s proposed changes to regulation of the internet. Activists argue the neutrality of the web would be compromised by these changes. The movement also allows anyone online to join the protest with their own personal WordPress blog or Twitter avatar. Public comments on the FCC’s proposal are being accepted until September 15.

Cable companies like Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner Cable and AT&T have pushed the FCC to allow them to charge for their customers to gain access to faster load times. This premium fast line is seen as a dangerous gateway toward creating a class system on the web. Proponents of net neutrality fear this “pay to play” structure could be used as a way to disrupt information, including porn, and increase censorship.

Sites such as Amazon, Google, Netflix, Facebook, and Twitter have also voiced support for net neutrality but have yet to announce their participation in the September 10th protest. Such grassroots strategies have been successful in the past. When the FCC first opened up their proposal for public comments, Last Week Tonight‘s John Oliver rallied the troops. Shortly after Oliver’s segment went viral, the FCC tweeted that their servers had been overloaded due to a flood of comments. In 2012, an internet blackout by online protesters successfully sunk two bills that would have similarly disrupted net neutrality. Porn sites did not participate then, although some Reddit users tried to rally support from the porn industry, asking them to join in the protest at the time.

With several days still to go for the Internet Slowdown protest of September 10, there is still time for more websites, porn or otherwise, to announce their intent to support net neutrality.