Imagine a web where content from sites like Breitbart is featured front and center, while grassroots organizations like ours are pushed into a "slow lane." That's what we could be looking at if Trump's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gets it way and sells out net neutrality to big telecom companies.
The FCC wants to rig the rules that govern the internet so that service providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T can control what content we see—restricting the free and open web and drowning out voices like ours.
It's challenging enough to cut through all the hate on the internet and promote our own stories, but under the new rules, we just wouldn't be able to compete with the bigots and the well-funded Islamophobia Industry—they'd be able to simply buy their way around throttling and extra fees, while our content could be blocked or censored.
We know how important access to an open and neutral internet can be, and how critical it is in this moment that Muslim communities' voices not be silenced or drowned out. When we founded MPower Change, we looked to the examples of brilliant organizations like Color of Change, 18MR, and Presente—all of which have harnessed grassroots digital campaigning to empower our communities.
With a level playing field, we can continue to organize Muslim communities and allies to fight and win campaigns in the struggle for justice for all people. But without a free, fair, and open web, communities and organizations like ours won't have the chance to make our voices heard.
This isn't the first time that the FCC has tried to sell out the internet. In 2015, startups, Internet freedom groups, and 3.7 million public commenters won strong net neutrality rules prohibiting internet providers from blocking, throttling, or prioritizing content. From the SOPA blackout to the Internet Slowdown, we've shown time and time again that when the internet comes together, we can stop censorship and corruption. But if we do nothing, then Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T win control over the internet—and access to show content to users goes to the highest bidder.
With an administration that's bent on targeting Muslims and other marginalized communities, and an increasingly empowered movement of bigots and Islamophobes, we can't afford to let big telecom companies control what we see online. Add your name today to the public comments to the FCC and Congress.