Elon Musk’s Twitter/X Throttling Web Traffic Reignites Debate over Net Neutrality

Elon Musk looks puzzled
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The Washington Post alleges that X, formerly known as Twitter, has throttled traffic to websites Elon Musk reportedly dislikes, which has reignited the debate over net neutrality. A former FCC staffer under republican Chairman Ajit Pai commented, “This is literally what Ajit Pai predicted.”

The Post reported that Twitter/X’s online rivals such as Facebook, Instagram, and Threads, a Twitter-like service owned by Facebook parent company Meta, Bluesky, and Substack have reportedly been throttled by Elon Musk’s social media platform.

Tech experts have noted that this latest Post only reinforces the argument that social media services, not internet service providers (ISPs) such as Verizon or Comcast, censor online speech.

This debate was at the focal point of then-Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s move to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality rules.

Nathan Leamer, a staffer for Pai when the FCC repealed net neutrality, wrote, “This is literally what @AjitPai predicted. That it was big tech companies like Twitter who are the real ones blocking and throttling access. The zealots completely ignored this. 5 years later the receipts are out. Ajit was right.”

“If advocates were honest, they would fight for a full-stack framework, which would include non-discrimination rules & apply public accommodation on #BigTech, too. Not limit those principles to ISPs only,” Joel Thayer, the president of the Digital Progress Institute, wrote.

Silicon Valley companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter at the time criticized the FCC’s net neutrality repeal, arguing that it will allow Internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast or Verizon to block, throttle, and prefer content at will.

This is something that Pai has long said when defending his “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” that repealed net neutrality. He argued that companies like Twitter/X, so-called edge providers, are the likely parties to censor Americans.

“Indeed, despite all the talk about the fear that broadband providers could decide what Internet content consumers can see, recent experience shows that so-called edge providers are in fact deciding what content they see,” Pai said during a speech in 2017. “These providers routinely block or discriminate against content they don’t like.”

X CEO Linda Yaccarino recently explained the platform’s approach to content it judges to be “lawful but awful:”

“So if you’re going to post something that’s illegal or against the law, you’re gone…But more importantly, if you’re going to post something that is lawful but it’s awful, you get labeled, you get de-amplified (which means it cannot be shared) and it is certainly demonetized,” she said.

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


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