Internet Slowdown Day is here. While the Internet itself won’t be slowing down, expect to see the dreaded “spinning wheel of death” loading symbol featured prominently on some of your favorite websites, including Netflix, Foursquare, Etsy, and more. The group of websites have banded together into “Team Internet” to protest proposed changes to net neutrality rules, which would allow Internet service providers to charge high traffic websites more or essentially force them to create a “slow lane” for customers.
Feel like you’ve been transported back to dial-up today? Dozens of Internet companies are participating in a symbolic slowdown of their sites in a protest for net neutrality. Netflix, Etsy, and Tumblr (to name just a few) joined BattleForTheNet.comin its “Internet Slowdown Day.” Participants in the protest won’t actually make their websites or services slower, but instead will post “loading” icons that symbolize the slower speeds many of the largest websites and tech companies say will accompany the Federal Communications Commission’s latest proposal on net neutrality if enacted. Visitors to participating sites will be prompted to sign a petition that will be sent to Congress, the FCC, and the White House. The protest began at midnight Wednesday and will last 24 hours. Those who advocate for complete net neutrality believe all websites should be accessible at the same speed, which is how the Internet has operated historically. Recently, Internet service providers have introduced the concept of creating Internet “fast lanes”–giving higher speeds to websites that pay for it, thus ending net neutrality. Some worry that if net neutrality is not protected, sites with more money will pay for speed, while others will lose traffic because they are in the “slow lane.”