NASHVILLE, Tenn.--A non-profit social welfare organization is targeting Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn for her stance on net neutrality.
Proponents of net neutrality argue the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) proposal to repeal rules and the classification of Internet Service Providers (ISP) will allow companies to charge extra fees, block websites, apps, services, and speed up or slow down connections.
On the flip-side, an FCC statement released in May argues the rules issued in 2015 were "heavy-handed," and are "utility-style government regulation."
Six lawmakers have stated public support for the FCC rollbacks, including Blackburn. Blackburn, the chair of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House and Energy Committee called the FCC proposal "a step in the right direction" during a C-SPAN interview.
Supporters of net neutrality are now targeting lawmakers who have voiced support of the deregulations in an effort to have constituents contact those representatives to voice their displeasure.
This targeting is also timely since the FCC has extended the public comment period for the proposed rule changes until the end of August. Recent reports state the FCC has received 13 million comments on the issue, though there have been debates on actual totals coming from real people versus bots and other fake comments.
Since members of Congress are on recess, organizations like the non-profit Fight for the Future are publishing billboard ads with lawmaker contact numbers.
FFF spokeswoman Tiffiniy Cheng says the group raised over $50,000 via crowd-sourcing to purchase billboard ads in six states. Of those, the group has purchased space in Clarksville, Tennessee.
The ad targeting Blackburn located at 2640 Wilma Rudolph Blvd shows a picture of the congresswoman and states "Rep. Blackburn took money from Verizon. Now she wants to give ISPs powers to censor, slow and tax your internet. Ask her why: (931) 503-0391."
Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer says the politicians they are targeting are attacking free speech. “Politicians need to learn that they can’t attack free speech on the Internet and expect to get away with it,” Greer says.
FOX 17 News reached out to Blackburn, who says the billboards are "misleading."
“These billboards are false and misleading attacks from liberal activists. They are designed to confuse consumers. Period. I support a free and open Internet and putting into place privacy protections that apply to ISPs and edge providers so that consumers have more control over how their digital presence is shared. We look forward to addressing these concerns at a hearing with the country's largest ISPs and edge provider companies in September.” - Rep. Marsha Blackburn
Other lawmakers targeted with similar ads are Rep. Paul Ryan (WI), Rep. Tom Graves (GA), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA), Sen. John Thune (SD), and Sen. Roger Wicker (MS).