The consequences of ending net neutrality aren't always easy to explain, but Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian just came up with a pretty striking descriptor:
If regulators kill off neutrality by carrying out their proposal to create an Internet fast lane and leave the rest of the web crawling slowly behind, it "would be a clusterfuck worse than Comcast's customer service," Ohanian writes in a blog post published Monday on The Verge.
Ohanian is one of many Internet activists and entrepreneurs urging Americans to voice support for net neutrality on Wednesday by participating in an Internet Slowdown protest. On that day, sites like Ohanian's Reddit, along with Digg, Upworthy, Kickstarter and others will display the loading symbol -- or wheel of death -- to visitors and ask people to tell the Federal Communications Commission, Congress and the White House that they desperately do not want net neutrality to go away.
Here's the loading icon that the activists want sites to use on Wednesday:
If you don't have a website, but want to take a stand against the potential end of open Internet, you can use the loading symbol as your avatar on Facebook and Twitter.
Activists are hoping for a protest to equal the now-infamous web blackout of 2012 , when many of the most popular websites went dark to protest two laws that would've more tightly regulated copyright online. Activists feared those laws would also hurt the open Internet. Thousands of websites participated in that protest, and the two laws never passed.
So far, big names like Google and Facebook have not signed on to tomorrow's protest, thus decreasing organizers' chances of making a huge splash. The protest is being run by a political action group called Demand Progress, the consumer group Free Press and the nonprofit Fight for the Future, which worked on the 2012 blackout.
The deadline to get comments to the FCC over its proposed rule changes is Sept. 15. A Comcast representative told The Huffington Post in an email that the company "supports on open Internet and net neutrality," and did not comment further on Ohanian's language.
This article has been updated to include Comcast's comment.
CORRECTION: An earlier version incorrectly stated that Netflix had not yet joined the protest. The company had announced its support on Monday, and has joined.