NYT Op-Ed About Net Neutrality Blocking The Internet Is Blocked By A Paywall

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor
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A New York Times op-ed tries to illustrate the purported problems behind the federal repeal of net neutrality rules like potential inaccessibility to certain content — even as the article is ironically behind a paywall.

“What if You Couldn’t Access This Page?” reads the title by an Asian studies doctoral candidate at Yale University, with the apocalyptic subhead “This nightmare internet scenario is at our digital doorstep.”

Net neutrality is the nebulous concept generally meaning that all internet traffic should be treated equally. Specifically, among other aspects, it means broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon can’t favor their own content over that of others, and can’t offer faster speeds to higher paying customers, nor block access to certain features. (RELATED: The FCC Repeals Internet Regulations After Months Of Wild Protests)

But many do not apply this simple principle equally to other industries. The aforementioned NYT op-ed, for example, can only be accessed through a paid subscription once the maximum number of free-of-charge articles have expired.

“The whole concept that infinite free distribution would solve all the business problems associated with journalism, and there’d be a perfect way of matching news to users, has just turned out to be wrong,” NYT CEO Mark Thompson said in a Digiday interview published Thursday. “There is demonstrably a market for high-quality news for paying customers.”

While Thompson and TheNYT in general don’t appear to have been outspoken on the issue of net neutrality internet regulations imposed under the Obama administration in 2015, the article and publisher is essentially showcasing a “net neutrality for thee, but not for me” situation.

Some net neutrality advocates, though, use TheNYT’s paywall as an example of further fears that other publications will follow suit.

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