Netflix joins ‘go slow’ protest … sort of

9 Sep 2014

Digital media provider Netflix has joined the online ‘go slow’ protest against the removal of net neutrality on 10 September, but won’t actually slow down the service to users.

Last week, some of the net’s biggest players, including Reddit, Vimeo and Mozilla, had all signed up to participate in the protest organised by a number of organisations, including Fight for the Future.

However, now the world’s largest content provider online, and the largest user of bandwidth in a number of countries, has decided to add its name to the list, at least in theory.

According to the National Journal, Netflix has decided that rather than actually slowing down the site, which could annoy its users, it has decided to leave the familiar spinning loading icon in a corner of the screen as a reminder of what could happen without net neutrality.

A spokesperson for Netflix confirmed its participation in the event and said the loading icon will not be targeted at specific videos. 

“Consumers, not broadband gatekeepers, should pick the winners and losers on the internet.

“Strong net neutrality rules are needed to stop internet service providers from demanding extra fees or slowing delivery of content to consumers who already have paid for internet access.”

So far, Netflix and Reddit remain the two largest high-traffic sites signed up to the protest, but a Wikimedia spokesperson, whose organisation has been very vocal on net neutrality in the past, has said it will not be participating this time around.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic