FCC Won't Delay Repeal Of Net Neutrality Over Fake Comments

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai defends repeal of net neutrality rules on day of crucial vote

The Federal Communications Commission has remained firm with its decision to end net neutrality despite the controversy surrounding the public comment system before its vote for the repeal of net neutrality last December.

On a statement released Thursday night, the FCC said they did not rely on thousands of the comments before making their decision to repeal net neutrality.

The vote went through and the rule was passed despite public comments that were found to be fake. Nevertheless, the FCC has ruled over the significance of the comments.

Public Comment Period

Before the FCC voted, it opened a public comment period to get the general public's reaction on getting rid of the rule through a comment system.

A report, however, has found out that millions of comments actually came from fake e-mail addresses that spammed the public comment system.

Most of these comments were in favor of repealing net neutrality.

More than 7.75 million comments submitted to the FCC used emails from domains related to, featuring almost identical wording. The FCC said that almost 23 million comments on the proposal to end the rule were filed more than 90 times each under the same name.

After the vote struck the rule down, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said it was a way to "restore internet freedom."

Questionable Comments

With the host of irregularities in the comments entered into the system, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opened a probe into the matter.

"I encourage the FCC to reconsider its refusal to assist in my office's law enforcement investigation to identify and hold accountable those who illegally misused so many New Yorkers' identities to corrupt the public comment process," said Schneiderman in an open letter to the FCC.

"In an era where foreign governments have indisputably tried to use the internet and social media to influence our elections, federal and state governments should be working together to ensure that malevolent actors cannot subvert our administrative agencies' decision-making processes."

The FCC responded to Scheniderman by calling his facts "completely inaccurate." FCC spokesman Brian Hart said in an email that there had been "concerning activity" on both sides of the issue.

The Pew Research Center had found that 94 percent of the comments were submitted multiple times. FCC said in late November that it would dismiss most of the 21.7 million comments submitted to the agency during the public comment period as there were too many duplicates.

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