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Netflix Changes Its Mind, Decides Maybe It Does Care About Net Neutrality Again

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Netflix, once a loudmouthed supporter of net neutrality — the concept that your internet service provider should no say in what you do or where you go online — but Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently shrugged off the need for neutrality as something that was important to the company a decade ago, but which it not longer really needs. Either not everyone at Netflix is as flippant as their CEO or Hastings has had a change of heart.

This afternoon, the Netflix Twitter account Tweeted out a link to BattleForTheNet.com, the official site for the July 12 “Day of Action,” when numerous websites will protest the FCC’s efforts to undo their own neutrality rules:

In addition to declaring that “Netflix will never outgrow the fight for” neutrality and that “Everyone deserves an open Internet,” Netflix also added its name to the list of companies, groups, and websites that will be a part of the July 12 effort. Some of the bigger names on that list include Amazon, reddit, Etsy, Fark, GitHub, and Kickstarter.

Just last month, Netflix’s Hastings was non-committal when asked about his company’s commitment to neutrality, saying that it was “really important for the Netflix of ten years ago.”

Even while acknowledging the importance of neutrality to “society… innovation” and “entrepreneurs,” Hastings said, “It’s not our primary battle at this point.”

The reason Netflix doesn’t care that much about neutrality any more? Basically, it’s no longer a startup that can’t afford to pay the tolls that Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T want to put in place for content providers. Even though Netflix’s success means the company has the leverage and resources to help the entire content industry fight to keep neutrality, Hastings said he felt like it was up to the next generation to fight that battle.

“We had to carry the water when we were growing up and we were small,” he said in May. “Now other companies need to be on that leading edge.”

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