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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

John Oliver Pulls The Plug On The FCC

Will Federman |
June 3, 2014 | 5:45 p.m. PDT


The Federal Communications Commission public-comment system was overloaded with "unusually heavy traffic" on Monday, shortly after comedian John Oliver encouraged Internet trolls to exploit the government agency's comment system on his television program late Sunday night. 

The system was restored after going down for several hours on Monday, but appears to still be sluggish in the wake of the funnyman's rant. 

FCC Press Secretary Kim Hart told Mashable "there's really no way of knowing if it was directly caused by the John Oliver segment," but confirmed that the agency received 22,257 comments over the past two days. That accounts for nearly a third of the total comments.

John Oliver spent a good chunk of his HBO show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, railing against recently proposed changes to the FCC's net neutrality laws. The proposed changes allow Internet providers to charge companies tiered amounts for delivery speeds to consumers, potentially blocking cash-strapped startups from competing with incumbent Internet services down the road.

Capping the 13-minute segment, Oliver delivered a passionate plea requesting Internet commenters to "focus your indiscriminate rage in a useful direction." 

The YouTube clip of Oliver's premium cable sermon has eclipsed 700,000 views. Good job, Internet.

Reach Editor-in-Chief Will Federman here. And follow him on Twitter.



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