John Oliver Inspires Internet To Take On FCC

Comedian and host of HBO's Last Week Tonight John Oliver rallied the Internet to comment on the FCC's website and shut down the site for hours.

John Oliver Inspires Internet To Take On FCC
HBO / "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver"

​Over the weekend, "Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver took 13-minutes to give a few choice words on net neutrality. After comparing cable companies to drug cartels, the comedian managed to stir commenters who set their sights on the FCC — and effectively crashed its website.

“The FCC are literally inviting Internet comments at this address ... this may be the moment your whole lives have been waiting for… We need you to get out there and for once in your lives focus your indiscriminate rage in a useful direction!" (Via HBO / "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver")

Oliver was referring to the FCC’s initial open commenting period for the net neutrality debate running from May 15 to June 27.  

Normally, legislative rhetoric like this passes by mostly unnoticed by the Internet, but thanks to Oliver’s rant on HBO talk show, the comment section has received 47,000 contributions and counting. Plus, it allegedly brought the FCC commenting system to a screeching halt early Monday. (Via FCC

The commission tweeted twice yesterday about certain “technical difficulties.”

“We’ve been experiencing technical difficulties with our comment system due to heavy traffic. We’re working to resolve these issues quickly.” (Via Twitter / @FCC)

As of Tuesday, everything seemed to be back to normal. Ars Technica spoke with a rep from the FCC who says the organization isn’t certain Oliver’s rant caused the breakdown, but confirmed the comment section was the source of the problem. (via Flickr / Steven Jennings / TechCrunch)

Well, what is for certain is that the comment section titled “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet” is the only FCC forum to receive 47,000 comments in the last 30 days.

The FCC voted in May to create a plan to eliminate net neutrality. This could allow Internet providers, like cable companies, to charge companies a premium to deliver their content faster. Companies who aren’t willing to pay will be left at a disadvantage.