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Internet sites to protest Trump admin's net neutrality plan

A group of sites plan to take action to draw attention to a crucial FCC vote planned for Dec. 14 that could dismantle Obama-era net neutrality rules.

People are finding creative ways to protest net neutrality rules.
Sarah Tew/CNET

A lot of the tech industry is not happy.

A group of activists and websites including Imgur, Mozilla, Pinterest, Reddit, GitHub, Etsy, BitTorrent and Pornhub are planning a campaign Tuesday to draw attention to an upcoming FCC vote that could radically reshape the way the internet works. 

As part of the effort, organizers at Fight for the Future say activists will change their relationship status on social media to "'Married" (to net neutrality).'" They might also add "Defending Net Neutrality" as a new job. 

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Meanwhile, sites are expected to run high-profile ads and post notes to users encouraging them to lobby the FCC over the vote, which occurs on Dec. 14.

Reddit has already added a list of US legislators who received money from the telecommunications industry to its front page.

Tuesday's campaign is the latest effort by activists to dissuade the FCC from repealing Obama-era rules that effectively classified internet service providers as utilities. The classification, known as Title II, forced companies like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast to treat all internet traffic equally. Last week, protesters marched outside Verizon stores around the US.

Earlier, a handful of tech trailblazers -- including Vint Cerf, a founding figure of the internet; Steve Wozniak, a co-founder of Apple; and Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web -- posted an open letter on Tumblr criticizing the proposed repeal of net neutrality. 

"The FCC's rushed and technically incorrect proposed order to abolish net neutrality protections without any replacement is an imminent threat to the Internet we worked so hard to create," the letter said. "It should be stopped."

(To learn more about net neutrality, read CNET's FAQ on the subject here.)

Reversing net neutrality rules, one of the Trump administration's most dramatic deregulatory moves yet, could allow internet providers to begin charging more for access to certain sites, activists warn.

"The unprecedented public backlash to the FCC's plan to slash Title II net neutrality protections continues to grow," the group said. The FCC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.