A group of 28 senators sent a letter Monday to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to postpone the upcoming net neutrality vote.
“We are deeply concerned by your recently released proposal to roll back consumer protections by dismantling the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) current net neutrality rules,” the letter reads.
The letter, signed by 26 Democratic and two independent senators, highlighted recent reports of bots filing fraudulent comments with the FCC on the issue:
To this end, we request a thorough investigation by the FCC into reports that bots may have interfered with this proceeding by filing hundreds of thousands of comments. Furthermore, an additional 50,000 consumer complaints seem to have been excluded from the public record in this proceeding, according to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed by the National Hispanic Media Coalition. Without additional information about the alleged anomalies surrounding the public record, the FCC cannot conduct a thorough and fair evaluation of the public's views on this topic, and should not move forward with a vote on December 14, 2017.
The vote as currently scheduled would likely result in a narrow 3-2 vote overturning the Obama-era net neutrality rules. Without those rules, the internet as we know it could change forever.
More than 1 million comments submitted to the FCC were created by bots masquerading as citizens, Wired reported in November:
According to multiple researchers, more than one million of the record 22 million comments the FCC received were from bots that used natural language generation to artificially amplify the call to repeal net neutrality protections. That number may only represent a fraction of the actual bot submissions. The New York Attorney General's office is currently investigating their source.
“The FCC must invest its time and resources into obtaining a more accurate picture of the record as understanding that record is essential to reaching a defensible resolution to this proceeding,” the group of senators wrote.
“As a result, we are requesting that you delay your planned vote on this item until you can conduct a thorough review of the state of the record and provide Congress with greater assurance of its accuracy and completeness.”
The FCC vote currently remains scheduled for December 14.