Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon said Monday that someone impersonated him while posting an anti-net neutrality comment to the FCC’s public comment system. Merkley posted an image of the comment on Twitter, saying it was “further proof of forged comments in this process.”
Fake public comments on net neutrality appear to have been rampant prior to the FCC’s vote last Thursday to repeal the regulations, which were first implemented in 2015. The rules prevented internet service providers from blocking, throttling, or charging more to carry specific internet traffic.
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The comment — posted with Merkley’s name, city, and address — argued that “the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules were written in the Obama White House by political staff and Tech Industry special interests who overruled the FCC’s own experts.” But Democratic legislators have almost uniformly supported the rules, along with more than 80% of the public across party lines, according to one recent poll.
The FCC has faced enormous public backlash against both the repeal itself, and the agency’s handling of the comment process. New York Attorney General Eric Shneiderman has launched an investigation of the fake comments, but says the FCC has refused to cooperate with him.