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Netflix Joins Net Neutrality Day of Action

Variety logo Variety 6/15/2017 Janko Roettgers
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Netflix renewed its commitment to pro-net neutrality activism Thursday by joining dozens of other internet companies and public interest groups as they prepare for a net neutrality day of action next month. The streaming video service announced its support for the July 12 Day of Action on Twitter, tweeting that “Netflix will never outgrow the fight for #NetNeutrality. Everyone deserves an open Internet.”

The Day of Action is being organized by Fight for the Future, which previously was part of similar online actions, including the internet blackout against the controversial SOPA anti-piracy bill. Together with supporters like Amazon, Kickstarter, Vimeo, the ACLU, and now Netflix, the group wants to encourage internet users to make their voices heard — and presumably contact the FCC — to prevent a proposed dismantling of existing net neutrality protections.

Netflix’s participation  is notable because it represents a bit of a of change of heart for the company. Previously, Netflix was a strong advocate for net neutrality, and pushed to expand protections to also regulate peering agreements between internet service providers and streaming service operators.

But in recent months, Netflix had been toning down its rhetoric on net neutrality, with CEO Reed Hastings repeatedly stating that he wasn’t concerned about any regulatory changes. For instance, Hastings told reporters in March that “the culture around net neutrality is very strong,” and that consumers would push for equal access to all streaming content regardless of whether net neutrality was the letter of the law or not.

On Thursday, Netflix acknowledged in tweets that its own service was likely to be fine, whether the FCC was going to dismantle net neutrality or not. “But supporting open Internet is still the right thing for our consumers,” it argued.

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