Jul 25 2017
WASHINGTON — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) sent a letter to the CEO of Twitter Tuesday expressing their concern regarding reports that tweets and retweets of AT&T’s public policy blog were blocked when the company announced it was joining the net neutrality “Day of Action” in support of Congressional legislation. The letter is part of an ongoing effort to work collaboratively with technology companies on open internet principles that apply equally across the internet ecosystem.
The letter can be found here and below:
July 25, 2017
1355 Market Street, Suite 900
San Francisco, CA 94103
Dear Mr. Dorsey:
We write in regard to disturbing news reports that Twitter prevented tweets and retweets of AT&T’s public policy blog when the company announced it was joining the net neutrality “Day of Action.” The inimical blocking of lawful content that may be at odds with one’s own point of view is an affront to free expression and violates the fundamental concept of net neutrality.
We share the goal of preserving an open internet where blocking, censorship, and throttling of legal content is prohibited. We are deeply troubled that, if true, one of the internet’s biggest platforms blocked AT&T when it voiced its support for a legislative solution to preserve a free and open internet, preferring that to continued regulatory uncertainty at the Federal Communications Commission.
According to an anonymous Twitter spokesperson, “The account was erroneously caught in Twitter’s anti-spam filters and the glitch has been fixed.” It is not difficult to imagine the outrage that would have occurred had an internet service provider (ISP) experienced a “glitch” that blocked Twitter or any of the other content providers that participated in the “Day of Action.” Whether this was a glitch or in fact the blocking of lawful content, this incident highlights that the FCC’s net neutrality rules apply only to ISPs and leave other parts of the internet ecosystem uncovered, even though they serve just as much as gatekeepers of information.
We hope that Twitter and other technology companies will partner with Congress on a real solution to codify open internet principles. You do not need a day of action to get Republicans to the negotiating table. We sit ready and waiting for a real, factually informed discussion.
We appreciate the efforts that you and your peers have made to help transform the internet into an engine that fuels innovation, creates jobs and drives the economy. As Twitter users, we have come to appreciate and depend on your service to communicate with our constituents. Since we share a common goal of a free, open and unfettered internet, we look forward to working together in the future and ask for a commitment from you to do the same.
Ron Johnson Roy Blunt
U.S. Senator U.S. Senator