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Advocates on both sides of the net neutrality debate are calling out for apparent hypocrisy this week after it blocked YouTube from working on Amazon's FireTV product.
People who watch a lot of YouTube videos through their Amazon streaming devices got a nasty surprise Tuesday when YouTube announced it would cut its video service from the FireTV by Jan. 1 due to a "lack of reciprocity" from the retail company. Amazon doesn't sell most of Google's hardware products and doesn't make its Prime Video service available on Google's Chromecast.
Meanwhile, Google, Amazon, and tens of thousands of other tech companies have the Federal Communication Commission's plans to repeal net neutrality protections, arguing that rolling back Obama-era rules could allow internet service providers to start blocking content or slowing down data from certain sites.
Advocates on the side of the ISPs say that YouTube's latest move proves that these companies aren't as dedicated to a "free and open internet" as they say.
"The whole point of net neutrality was supposed to be that the consumer could get what they want how they want on the internet," says Scott Cleland, a chairman of NetCompetition, a forum supported by ISPs."That's why this is so hypocritical."
John Spalter, of the trade association USTelecom, echoes the sentiment:
"Broadband ISPs are committed to providing an open internet for their customers, including protections like no content blocking or throttling. Seems like some of the biggest internet companies can't say the same. Ironic, isn't it?"
People on Twitter are calling foul, too, highlighting how the move shows that the tech giants are infringing on the ethos that they're apparently fighting to protect:
With this latest announcement, Google is essentially blocking some users from using what is usually a free and open website.
"It looks like Google is putting corporate interests ahead of openness, and the interests of consumers," says John Bergmayer, of PublicKnowledge. The organization also criticizes Amazon's refusal to put its video service on Google devices.
Today, people are protesting net neutrality repeal at hundreds of Verizon stores across the country, and Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, which supports the protests, says this latest spat between Amazon and Google highlights that the net neutrality fight shouldn't be about "what the biggest names in Silicon Valley" think, but defending small businesses, startups, and regular internet users.
"This is exactly why we need net neutrality," she says.
Neither Amazon nor Google returned request for comment. The FCC is expected to vote on rescinding net neutrality rules .