If you see a spinning loading icon when you try to watch Netflix videos Wednesday, there isn't a problem with your Internet connection. It's part of a protest calling for stronger net-neutrality regulations.
Videos won't actually load any slower. The symbolic icon is intended to be a warning of what the Internet would look like without net neutrality.
Dozens of other sites—including Reddit, Digg, Mozilla, Upworthy, Imgur, Etsy, and Foursquare—had already announced plans to display the loading icon as part of the "Internet Slowdown" protest. But the addition of Netflix, the 25th most popular site in the United States according to analytics site Alexa, provides a major boost to the effort.
Netflix spokeswoman Anne Marie Squeo confirmed that the site will display the spinning icon on its member and nonmember home pages on Wednesday. The icon won't go on any specific videos, she said.
"Consumers, not broadband gatekeepers, should pick the winners and losers on the Internet," she said in a statement. "Strong net neutrality rules are needed to stop Internet service providers from demanding extra fees or slowing delivery of content to consumers who already have paid for Internet access."
The Federal Communications Commission enacted net-neutrality regulations in 2010 to prevent broadband providers like Comcast from blocking websites or "unreasonably" discriminating against any Internet traffic. But a federal court struck down those rules earlier this year, and the agency is now trying to rewrite the regulations in a way that can survive future court challenges.