John Oliver and an army of Internet trolls managed to break the FCC's website Monday night.
On the Sunday, June 1, episode of "Last Week Tonight," Oliver issued a rallying cry to angry online commenters to "focus your indiscriminate rage in a useful direction" against the Federal Communication Commission's proposed changes to net neutrality regulations. The following day, the FCC website's comment system received so much traffic, it stopped functioning for more than two hours.
Oliver's Sunday segment explained the ongoing issue of changing net neutrality rules to potentially allow content companies to pay Internet service providers in exchange for faster service to the companies' customers. Oliver also touched on what these changes would mean to both companies and average Internet user. The clip ends in a call to action for the "monsters" of the Internet -- you know, those people who leave hateful comments on everything from this article to the YouTube video of your daughter's first-grade dance recital -- to "channel that anger, that badly spelled bile" and target the FCC.
At the time of this writing, the FCC's "Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet" filing had received almost 3,000 publicly viewable comments in the two days since Oliver's net neutrality segment aired.
The number of comments was already high without Oliver's help: More than 47,000 comments have been posted in the last 30 days. This number will undoubtedly grow as Oliver's clip helps to bring more publicity to the comment system.