John Oliver ‘s call-to-action to viewers to post comments on the Federal Communications Commission’s public comments system is not the reason that comments section got hinky for hours after his HBO program telecast late Sunday night.
During his Sunday telecast, Oliver told viewers, “Sadly, it seems once more we the people must take this matter into our own hands.” The FCC is, once again, mulling the mowing under of net neutrality. The FCC has, as it did three years earlier when Oliver viewers crashed the site with comments, invited public comment on its website, but this time made it much harder to do so, involving six steps. Oliver announced his show has bought the URL ‘gofccyourself.com’,” which will take care of Steps 1-5 for viewers, so they can more easily leave a comment telling FCC chairman Ajit Pai they support strong net neutrality, backed by Title II oversight of ISP’s.
Early this morning, video of Oliver’s deep-dive topic was among the highest trending on YouTube; Monday afternoon, it’s heading toward 1 million views, less than 24 hours after its telecast on the network.
The FCC insists the system was the target of a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) that coincidentally began shortly after Oliver’s program wrapped on the East Coast. The FCC’s Chief Information Officer said in a statement:
Beginning on Sunday night at midnight, our analysis reveals that the FCC was subject to multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS). These were deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host. These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves; rather they made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access and file with the FCC. While the comment system remained up and running the entire time, these DDoS events tied up the servers and prevented them from responding to people attempting to submit comments.”
In his Sunday show edition, Oliver described Pai as an anti-regulation guy who has said he’d like to take a weed-whacker to net neutrality and predicted its days are numbers which, Oliver noted, is “serial-killer talk.”
Pai is dangerous, Oliver cautioned, because he likes to play the down-to-earth nerd – loves to quote The Big Lebowski, brags about his “infamous” oversized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup novelty mug, and otherwise play dumb – when, in fact, he’s a former lawyer for Verizon, a company that would benefit bigly by the plowing under of net neutrality.
Three years ago, Oliver explained net neutrality to viewers and how doing away with it would choke their choices on the web, urging “my lovely trolls to turn on their cap locks and fly my pretties, fly!”
They did. And, the FCC then took steps to safeguard net neutrality. This time FCC honchos say they will not be impressed by quantity of comments, rather the quality of the argument. Maybe more important, President Donald Trump wants to roll back net neutrality – though Oliver made a strong case that Trump doesn’t actually know what “net neutrality” means.