How Net Neutrality Protesters Took Over Reddit

Redditors were more fired up about net neutrality than they were about the McGregor-Mayweather fight
Image: Screengrabs from Reddit

Getting the majority of Reddit users to agree on anything is no easy feat, but the Federal Communications Commission has done it. By proposing to scrap net neutrality rules later this week, the FCC has fired up Redditors more than they were by the Super Bowl or the McGregor-Mayweather fight, according to an analysis from the site.

On November 21, when the FCC formalized its plan to repeal net neutrality rules, activists took over Reddit’s front page. In response, Reddit users voted posts related to Battle for the Net—an online campaign organized by multiple digital freedom nonprofits—to every slot on the front page.


Then on December 1, the front page was again taken over with net neutrality activism, this time highlighting the amount of money members of Congress had received in campaign donations from Big Telecom, including many who had received six-figure donations. According to Reddit’s corporate blog, users were more passionate about this than other big ticket items this year.

“For comparison, at their peak, voting on Super Bowl and McGregor-Mayweather posts this year represented around 20 percent of front page votes,” Reddit posted. “At the peak of these two net neutrality events, over 70 percent of front page votes went to net neutrality posts.”

The McGregor-Mayweather fight is estimated to be the most watched pay-per-view event of all time, with more than 4 million paying viewers and millions more illegally streaming the fight. Turns out the fight of the century is actually between the FCC and the internet.

But even amidst the activism, Reddit’s fondness for memes still won out. The post receiving the post karma on the day when campaign donations took over the front page was this:

It can be a hellhole of the darkest depths of human depravity, but occasionally Reddit is also a platform for digital democracy, and it’s no wonder its users would like to ensure it stays that way.

Motherboard is empowering people to build community-owned broadband networks. For regular updates, subscribe to this newsletter .