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Don't sign in: Facebook blackout won't help net neutrality

Going offline for a day to protest Facebook's anti-net neutrality moves is like sticking a needle into Godzilla's big toe and hoping it will die of pain.

ht view Updated: Apr 22, 2015 19:33 IST
Pranav Dixit
Pranav Dixit
Hindustan Times
net neutrality,Facebook blackout,internet

Boy can the internet make you lazy. In what might be the most lethargic protest against a non-neutral internet in India, a bunch of Facebook fanatics - Ok, 18,000 people - have decided that the best way to stick it to Facebook, the purveyor of is…to deactivate their accounts for a grand total of 24 hours.

Because spending an entire day not staring wistfully at engagement pictures of your childhood crush is such a sacrifice.

The event, known as Facebook Blackout, is hosted by an online comparison shopping website that's no doubt trying to get its 15 minutes of fame by jumping on to the net neutrality bandwagon.

"Facebook has been violating net neutrality through its initiative, which is a very dangerous thing. We need to send a clear message to Facebook that this will not be tolerated," says the event's official website.

That's a noble goal, but it makes some of us go: Seriously?

Facebook has 112 million users in India. That's 112 with six zeros behind it. A total of 18,000 of 112 million Facebook users going offline for a day to protest Facebook's anti-net neutrality moves is like sticking a needle into Godzilla's big toe and hoping it will die of pain.

Folks: It's not going to do anything other than making you feel slightly warm and fuzzy inside for doing your good deed for the day.

If you want to do your bit for a neutral internet in India - and seriously, you should - there's many ways to do it.

You can create a petition and ensure it goes viral. The petition, started by internet activist Sandeep Pillai, now has over 2.8 lakh signatures and will be delivered on Thursday to the TRAI's New Delhi headquarters.

You can create a hilarious video that demystifies net neutrality and leaves us in splits at the same time.

You can also create a website that allows everyone to send in their responses to TRAI's mind-numbing questions with two clicks - regular people have already sent over 9 lakh emails to TRAI this way -- or crunch the regulator's massive 118-page paper to a compact 23 like this group of volunteers did.

You can also shout about net neutrality from the rooftops, tell your parents about it, do a flash mob on the streets or do a dharna at Jantar Mantar.

Please, just about anything other than a Facebook protest will make a difference.

Column | It should always be ‘my way’ on the internet highway

(The views expressed are personal. The author tweets as @PranavDixit.)

First Published: Apr 22, 2015 18:35 IST