FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s swipe at social media channel Twitter's criticism of plans to rework the current net neutrality framework is being called out by industry organizations like Incompas and Fight for the future.
During a speech in Washington, D.C., Pai said that Twitter, which is an advocate of the current Title II-base net neutrality framework, is nothing more than a platform for internet censorship.
“Now look: I love Twitter, and I use it all the time,” Pai said according to prepared remarks. “But let’s not kid ourselves; when it comes to an open Internet, Twitter is part of the problem. The company has a viewpoint and uses that viewpoint to discriminate.”
RELATED: FCC’s Pai circulates draft order to overturn net neutrality rules
He went onto describe how Twitter blocked Representative Marsha Blackburn from advertising her Senate campaign launch video because it featured a pro-life message and that Twitter warned users that a link to a statement by one company on the topic of Internet regulation “may be unsafe.”
“To say the least, the company appears to have a double standard when it comes to suspending or de-verifying conservative users’ accounts as opposed to those of liberal users,” Pai said. “This conduct is many things, but it isn’t fighting for an open Internet.”
However, industry groups like Fight for the Future and Incompas oppose Pai’s new plan to rework net neutrality rules under the pre-2015 Title I framework. His plan, which he circulated the day before Thanksgiving, will be voted upon during the regulator’s Dec. 14 monthly meeting.
Evan Greer, campaign director for Fight for the Future, said in a prepared statement that Pai’s net neutrality revamp won’t prevent social media companies like Twitter and Facebook from engaging in censorship, but will rather enable large ISPs like Verizon and Comcast to control more of what goes over the internet.
Pai’s plan “will explicitly allow companies like Verizon and Comcast to engage in censorship, and it will let large platforms like Facebook or Google pay them to squash small competitors,” Greer said. “Pai’s distortion of the facts here can only be described as Orwellian. He’s citing free speech as his reason for gutting free speech protections.”
Chip Pickering, CEO of Incompas offered a similar tone.
“Preventing hate speech and bullying behavior online is not the same thing as allowing cable companies to block, throttle and extort money from consumers and the websites they love. Twitter is an amazing platform for left, right and center,” Pickering said in a prepared statement. “Donald Trump might not be President without it, and Chairman Pai's plan to kill net neutrality will put Comcast and AT&T in charge of his Twitter account."