updated 03:33 pm EDT, Tue June 3, 2014
John Oliver rallies fans against Internet rules, FCC commenting undergoes load issues
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) experienced a heavy server load on Monday, possibly related to comments made by John Oliver during Sunday's episode of the HBO comedy Last Week Tonight. The comedian gave a report on net neutrality which called for commenters and Internet users to comment at the FCC's website. Oliver used what he considered to be less "boring" language to inspire people to speak up to the FCC about the open Internet.
During a 13-minute segment on the show, Oliver broke down the issues Americans are faced with on net neutrality. Claiming that most of the information citizens are given regarding the proposed fast and slow lanes of traffic consists of mind-numbing gibberish, Oliver tried to spice up the topic with his own brand of humor. Even though much of his commentary was subjective, he focused on the proposed control and influence providers may have on the future of the Internet.
Oliver called upon his show's viewers and random Internet commenters to put their skills to use "constructively for a change" and issue their thoughts against the plan. During a string of dialogue, he posed in front of a backdrop containing the link to the FCC's comment portal.
"We need you to get out there and for once in your lives, focus your indiscriminate rage in a useful direction," said Oliver. "Seize your moment my lovely trolls. Turn on the caps lock and fly my pretties! Fly!"
The FCC has announced that the comment site had been under a heavy load on Twitter. Another tweet an hour later suggested the site was still facing large volumes of traffic. While the site seemed to bounce back later in the day, the commenting system appears to be functioning as intended today.
We've been experiencing technical difficulties with our comment system due to heavy traffic. We're working to resolve these issues quickly.- The FCC (@FCC) June 2, 2014
Over 47,000 comments on the open Internet initiative have been registered in the last 30 days. The FCC says that they aren't clear if the plea from Oliver and the load on the comment system were related. A spokesperson from the FCC only told Ars Technica that the system was "down for a couple of hours yesterday due to high volumes of traffic."
Oliver followed up with a tweet this morning. "Whoops. It seems that you've all crashed part of the FCC website. I hope you're proud of yourselves."