WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has chimed in the on the ongoing debate over net neutrality on Tuesday (21 November) after Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai unveiled a plan to dismantle Obama-era net neutrality rules. The landmark regulations ensure equal access to the internet and prohibit internet service providers from stopping, slowing down or speeding up certain content or charging customers extra fees for high-quality streaming and other additional services.
The FCC will vote on the controversial decision on 15 December. However, the announcement has already triggered a fierce backlash over control of the internet. Many tech companies including Facebook and Google have also strongly opposed the decision with a massive online protest organised in July.
Interestingly, Assange appealed directly to US President Donald Trump on Twitter over the possible impact of the decision.
"Dear @realDonaldTrump," Assange tweeted. "'Net neutrality' of some form is important. Your opponents control most internet companies. Without neutrality they can make your tweets load slowly, CNN load fast and infest everyone's phones with their ads. Careful."
Trump has repeatedly clashed with CNN and other media outlets whom he often refers to as "fake news media". The Trump administration recently sued AT&T in an effort to block its merger with Time Warner, CNN's parent company.
Both before and after taking office, Trump has frequently taken to Twitter to weigh in on current events, push his agenda and attack critics and opponents. However, his quick-fire use of Twitter has garnered criticism over his controversial statements with many petitioning for him to be banned from the platform.
Trump has yet to respond to the tweet.
Assange is currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to the US where he could face espionage charges for leaking thousands of highly classified documents, military cables and files from the CIA. Last year, the whistle-blowing outfit steadily published a damaging series of emails and documents from the private account of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's former campaign chair, and other top Democratic officials.
In its "Vault 7" series this year, WikiLeaks has released a slew of confidential CIA documents exposing the spy agency's wide-ranging hacking and cyberspying tools.
In response to another Twitter user's comment, Assange said net neutrality rules "should be reformed and extended to prevent hyper dominant intermediaries like Google from engaging in political censorship, slowing down and re-ranking and let smaller players do whatever they like".