An Internet Service Provider (ISP) that serves the northern Idaho and Spokane Washington area announced on Monday that it will block Facebook and Twitter after the companies blocked President Trump and other prominent conservatives.
The move came in response to calls of complaints from customers that the social media platforms were engaging in censorship on their platforms.
Blocks Come As Response To Requests From Customers
According to KREM 2 News, starting on Wednesday, Your T1 WIFI would begin blocking the sites, unless customers contact the ISP and request access to the sites.
North Idaho internet provider blocks Facebook, Twitter on its service for some customers https://t.co/BI3r0nngwm
— KREM 2 NEWS (@KREM2) January 11, 2021
In an email to their customers, T1 WIFI stated, “We have the past couple days been fielding calls from customers voicing their concerns that they do not these sites allowed to be displayed on their internet feed to them and that they do not want their children to go to these sites.”
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The ISP went on to say that they do not condone censorship by the big tech companies, and, “trying to exterminate the competition.”
Parler was removed from Google and Apple’s app stores, and taken offline entirely by Amazon, the company that provided their web service.
Legal And Ethical Concerns For Blocking Facebook And Twitter
However, all might not be well with the decision by T1 WIFI. Not all customers are happy with the blocking of the sites.
Customer Krista Yep stated that she was, “alarmed” by the company’s email informing customers of the decision.
“I was pretty shocked that they were just coming out saying that. If it’s not illegal, it’s highly unethical,” said Yep.
Umm from my North Idaho internet provider…. this is INSANE. pic.twitter.com/vzy9tSDRAp
— krista yep (@yes4yep) January 10, 2021
The company’s actions themselves could be construed as censorship.
It could also violate Washington state’s Net Neutrality Law, “which states that internet providers may not manipulate access to content.”
What The Law Says
According to language in the law, “A person engaged in the provision of broadband internet access service in Washington state; insofar as the person is so engaged, may not:
(a) Block lawful content, applications, services, or nonharmful devices; subject to reasonable network management;
(b) Impair or degrade lawful internet traffic on the basis of internet content, application, or service, or use of a nonharmful device, subject to reasonable network management; or
(c) engage in paid prioritization.”
In an update to the email sent out to customers on Monday, T1 WIFI stated it would not block the social media sites for customers who did not want them blocked.
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