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What will be the Fate of Net Neutrality after Being Repealed?

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Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, center, announces the vote was approved to repeal net neutrality, next to Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, left, who voted no, and Commissioner Michael O'Rielly, who voted yes, at the FCC, Dec. 14, 20
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, center, announces the vote was approved to repeal net neutrality, next to Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, left, who voted no, and Commissioner Michael O'Rielly, who voted yes, at the FCC, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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“Net neutrality” regulations, designed to prevent internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Charter from favoring some sites and apps over others, have been repealed. On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted to dismantle Obama-era rules that have been in place since 2015, but will forbid states to put anything similar in place.

Here’s a look at what the developments mean for consumers and companies.

What is net neutrality?

Net neutrality is the principle that internet providers treat all web traffic equally, and it’s pretty much how the internet has worked since its creation. But regulators, consumer advocates and internet companies were concerned about what broadband companies could do with their power as the pathway to the internet — blocking or slowing down apps that rival their own services, for example.

What did the governments do about it?

The FCC in 2015 approved rules, on a party-line vote, that made sure cable and phone companies don’t manipulate traffic. With them in place, a provider such as Comcast can’t charge Netflix for a faster path to its customers, or block it or slow it down.

The net neutrality rules gave the FCC power to go after companies for business practices that weren’t explicitly banned as well. For example, the Obama FCC said that “zero rating” practices by AT&T violated net neutrality. The telecom giant exempted its own video app from cellphone data caps, which would save some consumers money, and said video rivals could pay for the same treatment. Pai’s FCC spiked the effort to go after AT&T, even before it began rolling out a plan to undo the net neutrality rules entirely.

A federal appeals court upheld the rules in 2016 after broadband providers sued.

The telcos

Big telecom companies hated net neutrality’s stricter regulation and have fought them fiercely in court. They said the regulations could undermine investment in broadband and introduced uncertainty about what were acceptable business practices. There were concerns about potential price regulation, even though the FCC had said it won’t set prices for consumer internet service.

Silicon Valley

Internet companies such as Google have strongly backed net neutrality, but many tech firms were more muted in their activism this year. Netflix, which had been vocal in support of the rules in 2015, said in January that weaker net neutrality wouldn’t hurt it because it’s now too popular with users for broadband providers to interfere.

What happens next

With the rules repealed, net-neutrality advocates say it will be harder for the government to crack down on internet providers who act against consumer interests and will harm innovation in the long-run. Those who criticize the rules say the repeal is good for investment in broadband networks.

But advocates aren’t sitting still. Some groups plan lawsuits to challenge the FCC’s move, and Democrats — energized by public protests in support of net neutrality — think it might be a winning political issue for them in 2018 congressional elections. (VOA)

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Facebook To Block Defensive Ads Targeting Under Adults

The company said that in the weeks ahead it will work with businesses and organisations that may be affected by the new age restriction policy

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Facebook is dumping projects to make amends. VOA

Facebook has updated its advertising policy to prohibit ads for weapon accessories to users under the age of 18, the media reported.

The social network currently bans ads for the sale of weapons and modifications, like magazines. But Facebook has taken an additional step of adding an age requirement for ads selling things like holsters, belt accessories or mounted flashlights, CNET reported on Friday.

Facebook updated its advertising policy page with examples of what kinds of firearm ads are and aren't allowed on the platform under the changed policy, which will come into effect from June 21.
Facebook has updated its advertising policy to prohibit ads for weapon accessories to users under the age of 18, Pixabay

Facebook updated its advertising policy page with examples of what kinds of firearm ads are and aren’t allowed on the platform under the changed policy, which will come into effect from June 21.

For example, ads for gun cases, slings and gun paint are allowed, but only with the new age restriction. But ads for firearms, ammunition, paintball guns or BB guns aren’t allowed.

The company said that in the weeks ahead it will work with businesses and organisations that may be affected by the new age restriction policy.

Also Read: An Unidentified Intention Of Crashing Apps On Latest Facebook 170.0

The announcement comes as the US has been embroiled in a nationwide debate over gun reform. Mass shootings, including school attacks in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas, have intensified the discussion.

Facebook isn’t the only Silicon Valley company that’s waded into the gun debate by restricting the content on its platforms.

In March, YouTube said it will ban videos that promote or link to websites that sell firearms and related accessories. The company had already banned videos that attempted to sell firearms. (IANS)