This article is shared with permission by WAE KPOP and was originally published on their website on Dec. 9, 2017. WAE KPOP is an independent site that offers a unique, creative perspective on Korean culture and entertainment to our distinctly inquisitive audience. Views and opinions expressed in this entry are solely those of the guest contributor.
During the 2017 Mnet Asian Music Awards’ (MAMA) voting period, over 30 million online votes were cast for K-pop groups like Red Velvet, BTS, EXO and Blackpink. For K-pop fans, voting campaigns for award shows are no simple task — fans often create entire guides on how to vote, trend hashtags on Twitter and create multiple accounts to vote throughout the day.
Now, imagine if K-pop fans replicated these efforts and banded together to help save net neutrality. The results could be phenomenal.
You’ve probably heard of net neutrality — it’s been a trending news topic for the past year — but you might not know what it means.
In a nutshell, net neutrality upholds the notion that the Internet is a human right that should be accessible to all, regardless of socioeconomic background or any other distinguishing trait. It is a policy that promotes the idea of an open internet, meaning Internet Service Providers (ISPs) cannot intentionally slow-down certain websites or block specific content.
If net neutrality is undone, ISPs (driven by potential profits) could charge more for internet “fast lanes,” or access to specific sites. Not only can this increase the price of internet access for everyday people, but the repealing of net neutrality can also limit freedom of expression and speech by those who cannot afford to pay such premiums.
Net neutrality is critical to my life as a college student. It is important as someone living halfway across the country from her family and as someone who wants to keep up with current events.
Unsurprisingly, it is also essential as a K-pop fan.
K-pop in the U.S. has grown significantly over the past couple of years. Arguably, this is due to the rise of the internet and subsequent social media platforms like YouTube and Twitter. The internet is what has allowed content from Korea to be shared easily and freely to all. All of this content could be affected if net neutrality were to go away.
Music videos, V-Live (a personal video broadcasting site), fancams, merchandise sites and so much more impact fans’ ability to interact with idols and vice versa.
Consider what would happen if concert tickets to see your favorite group were being sold on Ticketmaster, but your family couldn’t afford to pay the premium for faster connection. Your chances of getting tickets to see a popular group would suffer.
What would you do if your connection to Twitter and other social media platforms where fans gather and interact was suddenly affected? Would the friendships you developed on these sites be kept intact? What about if the only fan-subtitler in your fandom could no longer translate videos due to higher prices for access to certain content?
These and many other scenarios are no longer some distant reality. The vote to repeal net neutrality is happening on Dec. 14, 2017. That’s less than a week from today.
I’ll admit, I haven’t been the best at voicing my support for net neutrality. Other than two copy-and-pasted emails sent back in November, the issue of net neutrality hasn’t been at the forefront of my life. But after reading multiple articles published by my university’s newspaper, I decided to be more active with my support. Since the beginning of this week, I’ve sent multiple faxes, emails and letters to my representatives and senators. I’ve made my friends and family aware of the issue and I’m writing this piece now, hoping to reach as many people as possible.
The importance of a free and open internet should be obvious to anyone who is a fan of K-pop. I’m hoping that this article encourages you to voice your support for net neutrality and realize that its effects are far-reaching in almost all aspects of life.
Now, you might be wondering how exactly we can make our support for net neutrality clear. Like I mentioned at the start of this article, K-pop fans are great at social media campaigns. Imagine the statement fans would make if hashtags like #KPOPFansForNetNeutrality were to trend worldwide on Twitter.
You don’t have to be of voting age, or even be living in the U.S. to participate. If you do happen to live in the U.S., here is a list of things you can do to make your voice heard:
1. Contact your Representative and Senators.
Use https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative to find your Representative in Congress and send them a letter or an email. Here’s a template from Battle For The Net that you can use and/or modify.
“Dear Senators and Representatives:
Please support any amendment that would strike out Sections 628, 629 and 630 from the Government Appropriations. These sections would undermine the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules and prevent the agency from enforcing these critical protections. It is unacceptable to use a budget bill to circumvent the FCC’s open rulemaking process that millions of citizens participated in.
The American people have called for strong net neutrality rules. Congress should let the FCC do its job, and not engage in unproductive partisan brinksmanship.
[Your name here]”
2. Text RESIST to 50409 aka ResistBot.
ResistBot finds who you are represented by in Congress and helps deliver a message to them in under two minutes. Copy and paste any templates or write in your own message.
3. Call your Representatives and Senators, and the FCC.
Here’s Ajit Pai’s, the chairman of the FCC and instigator of this ordeal, office number: 202-418-1000. You might be directed straight to voicemail, but leave a message anyway. Your call is tallied and helps to show support for net neutrality. Here is a script from 5calls.org you can use:
“Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a concerned customer from [LOCATION].
[IF FCC]: I’m calling to express my disapproval that the FCC is trying to kill net neutrality and the strong Title II oversight of Internet Service Providers. Preserving an open internet is crucial for fair and equal access to the resources and information available on it.
[IF CONGRESS]: I’m calling to express my support for Net Neutrality and a fair and open Internet. I ask that [Senator’s or Rep’s Name] contact FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and demand he abandon his plan to overturn Net Neutrality and Title II oversight. It is time for Congress to take a stand and urge Chairman Pai to cancel the vote in December.
Thank you for your time and attention.
[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]”
4. Tell your friends and family!
I’ve noticed that people online seem to be aware of net neutrality and the consequences of repealing it, but offline it’s something not talked about as much. So spread the word about net neutrality and its importance to the everyday web user!
As stated in this article and many others, net neutrality is a policy that needs to be protected. Internet access should remain free and open for all, including those who may not be able to pay premiums for content they want to see. Being a fan of K-Pop has given me a unique perspective on the issue, and I hope this article can serve as inspiration to do all you can to defend net neutrality before and after the Dec. 14 vote.
Help spread the word on Twitter with the hashtag #KPOPFansForNetNeutrality