NEW DELHI: The debate on net neutrality continued to rage on Sunday, with prominent public figures including politicians and film personalities joining in to “Save the Internet” from discriminatory pricing for data services proposed by telecom companies, even as the temporary takedown of a viral video on net neutrality caused a minor Twitter storm. A video explaining net neutrality made by All India Bakchod (AIB), which was widely shared on the Internet and social media websites -including by film actor Shahrukh Khan- ended up being removed from Facebook due to unusually high activity.
AIB, a popular group of standup comedians, had on Saturday made a video explaining the principle of net neutrality using a children’s park as an analogy. The video went viral and helped the already growing online movement called “Save the Internet”, and picked up steam as more startups, politicians, actors and other public figures came on board over the weekend. On Sunday, some people including AIB members said on Twitter that the shared video was no longer visible on their Facebook timeline. However, the social networking website acted swiftly to restore it after several complaints surfaced. “Can you check now? there was a bug and it is fixed. The post should be visible again,” Facebook’s growth manager Abhishek Nag tweeted in response to a query by AIB group member Gursimran Khamba.
“Seems to have been a glitch -@abhisheknag from Facebook tells me its been resolved. The video should hopefully be accessible now,” Khamba tweeted later. Facebook has an algorithm which causes links with unusually high activity to get blocked. The discussion around net neutrality has picked up steam in India over the last few weeks, after TRAI released a consultation paper in late March, seeking comments on the regulatory framework for OTT services.
Shiv Sena Youth wing President Aaditya Thackeray on Sunday urged the Trai chairman to halt the move to kill OTT services, which includes popular apps such as Whatsapp, Viber, Skype and so on, pointing out that access to Internet “cannot be governed by the commerce of the telecom operator, who should be rather focusing on bettering the services people pay for”. The paper has drawn widespread flak from net and free speech activists, who feel it favours the interests of telecom companies, and have been asking people to join the movement to “Save the Internet” from telecom operators who want greater control over their network.
AIB, which was recently in the news for its “Roast” event going viral and subsequently being taken off YouTube, maintained a careful stance. “Guys @facebook did NOT remove #NetNeutrality vid. Was shared so quick their algorithm thought it was spam. Is back up,” clarified AIB member Rohan Joshi in a separate tweet.
On Sunday, several actors, such as Farhan Akhtar, Alia Bhatt, Kriti Sanon, and Siddharth Malhotra tweeted about net neutrality and save the Internet. Several political figures including Ajay Maken, Ahmed Patel, Sanjay Jha also tweeted in support of net neutrality.