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Right now, the internet needs your help to survive

Right now, the internet needs your help to survive


There is still time for your voice to be heard

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Alexis Ohanian is an entrepreneur and partner at Y Combinator best known for co-founding Reddit, which has grown to become one of the largest community websites in the world. In recent years, he's become one of the loudest voices in support of internet freedom and its benefit to society. He believes the internet is the most powerful and democratic tool ever made for sharing information, and is a strong supporter of net neutrality regulation.

Today, I am calling on my fellow founders and investors (and anyone who loves the Internet) to join me in fighting to protect net neutrality. Internet freedom activists have organized a day of mass action to protect net neutrality on Wednesday, September 10th. On that day, every large company, every startup, and anyone with a blog or website should use tools available here (or create tools of their own) to organize their users to become an army of citizen-lobbyists. The internet needs you.

For those who don’t know me, Steve Huffman and I co-founded Reddit, one of the top 50 websites on the internet. I’ve got a webseries here on The Verge called Small Empires. I’m also a partner at Y Combinator, the top early stage investment fund, whose investments include Dropbox, Airbnb, Heroku, Pebble, Twitch, Crowdtilt, Coinbase, and ZenPayroll, among others.

Most importantly, like most of you, I love the open internet.

The internet is where we build friendships, conduct commerce, create and destroy

Today’s internet is the most democratic vehicle for free expression the world has ever known. It’s an open and free market for small and large businesses, giving any inventor in her garage the hope that she’s creating tomorrow’s Google or next year’s Facebook. It’s where we build friendships, conduct commerce, create and destroy; it’s where we live more and more of our lives everyday.

Which is why I take it so personally whenever those in our government try to destroy this place that is so special. We’ve successfully headed off some of these threats before: censorship bills disguised as copyright law (SOPA) and attempted mass surveillance laws disguised as cybersecurity (CISPA). But now we face a new threat, one that would undermine the most basic principles of the internet as we know it. That threat is a legal proposal by the Federal Communications Commission that would authorize cable and phone companies to create a two-tiered internet, with congested Internet slow lanes for all of us and fast lanes for the giants that can pay them. Why would the FCC want to protect cable companies who already face hardly any competition and make 90 percent profit on the internet service they sell us? The FCC has proposed a legally unequal web — one where those who provide us internet access would be gatekeepers, not gateways. It’s an internet where we’d all need to buy a permission slip (that most of us can’t afford) from Comcast or Time Warner Cable to compete, innovate, and organize equally.

We can’t let this happen. Really. This would be a clusterfuck worse than Comcast’s customer service.

Why are people in DC even thinking about this, let alone getting to the brink of doing it? Cable and phone companies spend more money on lobbying in DC than oil companies, pharmaceuticals, and most defense contractors. Worse, cable lobbyists go on to hold some of the most senior jobs across the government — including Tom Wheeler, the man at the top of the FCC. Even though millions of us across the world support Team Internet, Washington, DC is the one place where people cheer for Team Cable.

This would be a clusterfuck worse than Comcast’s customer service

The FCC chairman — and the phone and cable companies that are supporting his proposal — will say they’re actually keeping the internet open, but hundreds of tech companies, countless venture investors, and millions of people see right through it. The FCC’s proposal would explicitly create a pay-to-play internet, a dangerous proposition that threatens the internet you and I love so much.

There is still time for your voice to be heard. 1.1 million Americans have already filed public comments with the FCCI submitted some on behalf of Y Combinator — and if you want to keep the internet a level playing field for everyone, you should join us.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 5:33 PM UTC Striking out

Andrew Webster5:33 PM UTC
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.

The Verge
Andrew Webster4:28 PM UTC
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Andrew Webster1:05 PM UTC
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.

A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.

Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.

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If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.

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Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.

Spain’s Transports Urbans de Sabadell has La Bussí.

Once again, the US has fallen behind in transportation — call it the Bussí gap. A hole in our infrastructure, if you will.

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Jay PetersSep 23
Doing more with less (extravagant holiday parties).

Sundar Pichai addressed employees’ questions about Google’s spending changes at an all-hands this week, according to CNBC.

“Maybe you were planning on hiring six more people but maybe you are going to have to do with four and how are you going to make that happen?” Pichai sent a memo to workers in July about a hiring slowdown.

In the all-hands, Google’s head of finance also asked staff to try not to go “over the top” for holiday parties.