Editorial:Here's Why Net Neutrality Affects You, Me, and Everyone You Know

Here's Why Net Neutrality Affects You, Me, and Everyone You Know

By James Baratta

As of December 11, 2017, consumers pay a small fee for Netflix and Spotify Premium. This is still better than having to suffer an extra charge besides the payment in current standing. In other words, the consumer will have to pay for both the allocated fee-per-month as well as a package fee for whatever apps they desire to use. Free apps will also become a part of this package fee which includes Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter -- Pandora and Spotify (standard) are also placed under a package fee. If this bill passes, various bundles will be offered by your internet service provider. Some of which include social media while others comprise of entertainment and music apps. 

When the time comes to shop online at local and small-time businesses, you’ll be out of luck. Internet service providers will purposely provide instantaneous loading towards the top of the results page for big companies such as Amazon and eBay. Other websites that are not a part of your provider’s inventory will be virtually inaccessible. Although we as a people are threatened, small businesses that focus their commerce online will face devastating consequences in the near and possible future.

Have you been thinking about watching "Stranger Things" on Netflix? I highly suggest it if you haven’t seen it already. I hate to tell you, but there’s only a limited time to check it out before you’ll be charged even more money to watch some of your favorite shows. Internet service providers will be able to promote different products you wouldn’t normally use. Netflix towers over Hulu in users at 104 million when compared to Hulu’s puny 12 million according to a PCMag article published in October of 2017. The reason I say the time is now is because your internet service provider might decide to prioiritize HULU whether you like it or not. This takes selective advertising to a whole new level; it wouldn’t be unsound to call it mandatory advertising for that matter. 

The elimination of net neutrality provides pathways to change the way we think and even act politically. Massive media outlets such as CNN and FOX News will have the fastest loading time and be toward the top of the results page. Other media outlets that may not be as popular risk extinction -- just like the small businesses discussed earlier. Certain newspapers and media outlets are biased if you hadn’t noticed already. With their increased publicity when, in a world without net neutrality, you’d like to FAQ check something a politician said there’s a likelihood that you’ll be greeted with nothing but a reiteration of what was said. This applies to validating anything you’ve become aware of in such a world -- a world that lurks close-by.

You may be wondering… are there any positives of a world without net neutrality? After digging through all the negatives, I managed to scrape up a couple. More jobs will be created -- supposedly. There’s also an incentive to encourage innovation instead of posting more and more useless content all over the internet; that’s pretty much it. Really, it does more harm than good. If you see the destruction of minor businesses, lack of access to information, and costly, exploitative packages for apps you already use for free (and/or pay minimal fees to use), the current state of the union is all fine and dandy. However, if you’re shaking in fear of what’s next for the American people, I suggest you proceed to the next paragraph.

Below are a set of links that you can use to preserve the colorful and expressionistic domain known as the internet. Most are petitions you can sign and others are e-mails you can send to your local senators to prevent this violation of what this country was built on -- freedom.

On a personal note, my aspirations to become a journalist are in imminent danger. I’ve never felt such passion and frustration with a topic in my 17 years of being on this planet. Please take this with seriousness and use the links above this paragraph to prevent the destruction of this beautiful and limitless realm known as the internet -- thank you.

By James Baratta

I’m James Baratta and I’m the editor of the TIDE newspaper at Long Beach High School. I’ve been a part of the club throughout my entire high school career and loved every second of it. Writing is my passion I plan to major in Journalism.

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