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A small ISP in Idaho decides that the punishment for “censorship” is more censorship

Well, this is gross

person using internet in regards to net neutrality
Image: Unsplash

In the ongoing debate over whether social media platforms actually have a right to kick troublesome users off their services, a small Internet Services Provider (ISP) in Idaho decided that the punishment for Twitter and Facebook’s “censorship” would be to block those websites completely for its users. That means no customer using Your T1 WIFI will be able to access either social media site unless they specifically ask the ISP to be allowed to do so.

In an email sent out to all of its customers, Your T1 WIFI lays out its rather convoluted reasoning for the blocks, which range from “our customers have been asking us to do it because they don’t have the skills to do it just for their home,” to “we’re strongly against censorship, so we’re blocking these sites for your own good.”

Adding to the confusion is a statement made to a local CBS affiliate, in which owner Brett Fink confirmed the email as genuine, but said that “we’ve had customers asked to be blocked by it… …so we are not blocking anybody, only the ones who have asked for it.”

With the FCC abandoning Net Neutrality rules, the ISP is technically in the clear for doing this, at least at the federal level. The ISP could be in trouble at the local or state level, as regulations may be different.

So what we have here is a seeming backlash against social media platforms from the belated enforcement of their own terms of service, levied at the local ISP because they’re the only ones that will listen. Blocking Facebook isn’t the solution and a very short-sighted one by the ISP. Think about all the customer support calls they’ll now have to field when the customer’s automated login systems fail to authenticate if they used Facebook to sign into any part of the internet.

With a new administration coming in, and the current FCC head on the way out, maybe this incident will spur a new set of Net Neutrality rules, as it shows just how much power the ISPs do have to remove access to huge parts of the internet.

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