Topic Context and Background
The discovery of the internet in the 1980s led to the idea of social networking using social media platforms. The sites such as Friendster and Myspace were the first to launch, but Facebook and Instagram among others have taken the lead due to their capacity to understand and provide what the people need in the online interactions. Before and after the advent of social media net neutrality has been a principle requiring the internet providers to treat all the data on the internet as equal regardless of its source, type, and destination (Collins, 2017). Thus, the internet which drives the social media and other online platforms becomes open access. The surfing of the internet has been the same since its advent, but the FCC repeal may change this status. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repeal is determined to end the open access and give the ultimate control to the internet services providers (ISP). The ISP will determine how the internet content should be accessed by limiting the speed on different sites.
Current Trends and Prospects
The FCC repeal on the principle of net neutrality affects the access to social media in various ways. The first is limiting the speed, where the social media platform owners will be required to pay more to access the faster internet or to display particular content. The users of these sites will be affected by these rules as their hosts will determine what they view and at what speed (Falbisoner, 2018). Hence, if the internet is slow, it may affect some user experience such as the inability to load images. Social media has become a significant facilitator for online business through social media marketing which means shoppers will experience challenges leading images of the products they would want to purchase. Instead, they would visit the store to shop for the product which could be inconvenient in some cases, considering that online shopping is currently booming across the world. It will also discourage innovation as small entrepreneurs rely on the internet tools to design, market and sell their products. With the FCC repeal, only financial established and stable large companies will afford to finance the access to high-speed internet (Bell, 2018). The end of net neutrality will be an equivalence to no internet access. For instance, in Portugal where the net neutrality principle is weak, the internet providers have started to limit the access of people to various social media site based on the speed of internet they can subscribe.
The entrepreneurs using the various social media sites to target clients also have been restricted by the audience they can access based on their speed of the internet. This situation means that sites have been categorized and the premium ones have been made expensive to access. Unfortunately, the internet providers are the only ones who determine which application or sites are on either first or second lanes and also the rates charged when accessing (Donnelly, 2017). This situation will become worse if social media sites, for example, Instagram decided to partner with Comcast their content will dominate in various regions that the internet supplier is firmly established. However, the users will be affected as Facebook will be making more profits for taking the premium platform offered by the internet provider while exploiting the user who will have to pay more to access their content. Alternatively, the internet providers may decide to buy the social media platforms, or the social media become the internet providers which will entirely change user's experience.
The third way is affecting the sharing of information via social media. Currently, people on the same platform can easily access same information irrespective of the geographical location (Sohn, 2017). With the FCC repeal, this situation will be hindered as not all users of the internet would afford to access some sites. Hence, the idea of social media will decline since only those subscribed to particular speed can access the sites in that category. Many people with significant online relationships will be separated, and the social media idea with continue to shrink and become exist as people will find other means to socialize. Fortunately, before it is too late the striping of the net neutrality principle by the FCC could be stopped, and the social media is the best way to express resentment towards this idea to control the internet. At the moment various online movements such as Google and Amazon rallying against the repeal, by linking with the local authority to influence the outcome at the Congress.
The FCC repeal affects the net neutrality provisions where the user's personal information is protected. The splitting of the internet packages similarly to the cable television will affect the right to privacy on the internet. Without net neutrality provisions, the personal identifiable information will be compromised hence the privacy concern (Sohn, 2017). This will happen since the internet providers will determine what user's access and the frequency. Moreover, to understand the pattern of access among users the internet service providers will monitor the exact content of each individual closely. This situation will lead to the security problem where the personal data will be accessible and potentially be used by unwanted parties (Bell, 2018). It would also create a loop for services providers to sell the personal data as it happened in the Facebook scale where user's information was used maliciously. Another ethical violation by the FCC repeal on the net neutrality is the limitation of free speech which occurs over the internet (McSherry, 2017). Communication via the internet is the major technological advancement enjoyed in the 21st century, and it has become a right for people to create, share, and react to content across the world. Additionally, it will limit the extent of creativity where people will not be able to create and share content which will affect who, what and how information is shared over the internet.
Issues and Opportunities
To enhance the impact of social media on net neutrality and FCC repeal, the awareness on how to use social media to control the situation should be spread. Moreover, the membership and social media groups opposing the FCC repeal on net neutrality should improve. Also, the public participation that will engage the federal and state authorities should be involved to stop the FCC plans on net neutrality. Since this issue is mainly in the USA, the rest of the world should be informed using a social media platform to increase the pressure against similar violations.
Bell T. (2018). Will the end of net neutrality be a security nightmare? Csoonline. Retrieved on 21 June from https://www.csoonline.com/article/3251070/internet/will-the-end-of-net-neutrality-be-a-security-nightmare.html
Collins K. (2017). Why Net Neutrality Was Repealed and How It Affects You. The New York Times. Retrieved on 21 June from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/technology/net-neutrality-rules.html
Donnelly G. (2017). FCC Vote: What Losing Net Neutrality Could Mean for Your Internet Experience. Fortune. Retrieved on 21 June from http://fortune.com/2017/11/21/what-net-neutrality-means-for-you/
Falbisoner M. (2018). ESA Joins Fight against FCC over Net Neutrality. Rollingstone. Retrieved on 21 June from https://www.rollingstone.com/glixel/news/esa-joins-fight-against-fcc-over-net-neutrality-w518825Mc
Sherry C. (2017). An Attack on Net Neutrality Is an Attack on Free Speech. Electronic frontier foundation. Retrieved on 21 June from https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/06/attack-net-neutrality-attack-free-speech
Sohn G. (2017). The FCC's plan to kill net neutrality will also kill internet privacy. The Verge. Retrieved on 21 June from https://www.theverge.com/2017/4/11/15258230/net-neutrality-privacy-ajit-pai-fcc
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