Donald Trump Jr. managed to spread some fake news Thursday on Twitter.
The president’s son used the platform to criticize supporters of net neutrality after the Federal Communications Commission repealed the Title II protections that kept the internet a public utility. Unfortunately, Trump Jr. doesn’t seem to have all the facts in order.
“I would pay good money to see all those people complaining about Obama’s FCC chairman voting to repeal #NetNeutality actually explain it in detail,” Trump Jr. wrote. “I’d also bet most hadn’t heard of it before this week. #outrage.”
In fact, President Donald Trump designated Ajit Pai the FCC chairman in January. Former President Barack Obama appointed Pai to a five-year term on the commission in 2012, but Democrats fought against his term’s renewal last year. The commission voted to repeal the net neutrality protections in a 3-2 vote, with Pai voting in the majority.
Net neutrality rules were initially put in place to ensure that internet service providers, ISPs, treated all information and content across the web equally. Repealing the Title II protections would allow internet service providers, such as Verizon or Comcast, to decide what content would be blocked or offered at slower speeds in favor of the company’s own content.
Critics of Pai’s repeal effort fear that ISPs will discriminate against internet traffic and charge companies such as Netflix or Amazon exorbitant fees to give consumers efficient access to those services.
(HuffPost’s parent company, Oath, is owned by Verizon. HuffPost is also represented by the Writers Guild of America, East, which supports net neutrality and opposed its repeal).
Millions of Americans had protested Pai’s plan to repeal net neutrality regulations. Citizens have protested to keep the rules in place, in addition to calling offices of public officials to protect the internet. Congress could nullify the FCC decision with a Congressional Review Act resolution, and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said Thursday that he would introduced one, but it’s considered a long shot.
More than 20 U.S. senators attempted to delay Thursday’s vote after suspecting that the FCC was flooded with fraudulent comments, especially those in favor of the repeal. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opened an investigation, which showed that up to 2 million comments were submitted under false names.
Schneiderman announced that he would sue to prevent the rollbacks on Thursday. In a YouTube video, Schneiderman criticized the FCC’s lack of assistance in his office’s investigation and called the vote a travesty.
“Today’s vote also follows a public comment process that was deeply corrupted, including 2 million comments that stole the identities of real people,” Schneiderman said in his video. “This is a crime under New York law ― and the FCC’s decision to go ahead with the vote makes a mockery of government integrity and rewards the very perpetrators who scammed the system to advance their own agenda.”
Language in this story and its headline has been amended to clarify that while former President Barack Obama appointed Ajit Pai to the FCC, it was President Donald Trump who designated Pai the agency chairman.