Tech's Biggest CEOs Are Too Chickenshit to Defend Net Neutrality
Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee invited the CEOs of Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, and Google’s parent company Alphabet to take part in discussions about net neutrality. Telecoms were also invited and the two groups were expected to play good cop/bad cop on the issues. Now, the committee has extended the RSVP deadline because apparently no one wants to show up.
According to a report from Recode, not only have the good cops not confirmed that they’ll attend the hearing, the telecoms haven’t committed either. The four tech companies as well as AT&T, Charter, Comcast, and Verizon, were asked to respond to House Republicans by July 31st. Today, a spokesman told Recode that “The committee has been engaging in productive conversations with all parties and will extend the deadline for response in order to allow for those discussions to continue.”
The initial invitation to the tech CEOs came after they expressed support for the Net Neutrality “Day of Action” protests that occurred on July 12th. All four big tech companies were slow to join the protest and their eventual participation was minimal. Google offered a blog post but didn’t change its Google doodle as they had in previous protests. Netflix faced some backlash after its CEO, Reed Hastings, said the fight for net neutrality was no longer his company’s “primary battle.” The streaming service eventually joined the Day of Action and ran a banner ad about the issue at the top of its homepage. Amazon and Facebook were also half-hearted in their support for protecting the open web.
The fact is that these companies are so big they feel comfortable that they’ll survive no matter what happens. As Hastings put it, it’s “not narrowly important to us because we’re big enough to get the deals we want.”