22 Million Comments

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22 Million Net Neutrality Comments

by Brandon Silberstein and Sarah Oh

For these data visualizations, we generated a random sample of 220,000 comments from 22 million comments in Docket 17-108. We generated interactive maps for your exploration below. Maps include information on comments submitted with email domains from a fake email generator, classification of comments favoring or opposing the proposed order, and sentiment analysis of positive or negative language in comment text. Zip codes were geocoded to latitude and longitude coordinates. We also generated some filtered results that show whether comments included references to political officials or media influencers.

Time Lapse

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Time Series

Form Letters

Favoring the Proposed Order

Opposing the Proposed Order

Composition of Comments

All Comments

All Comments Favoring or Opposing the Proposed Order

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All Comments by Sentiment

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Fake Email Generator Comments

Submitted Without the FCC's API

Submitted Without the FCC's API by Favoring or Opposing the Proposed Order

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Submitted Without the FCC's API by Sentiment

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Name Searches

"Pai" by Favoring or Opposing the Proposed Order

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"Pai" by Sentiment

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"Wheeler" by Favoring or Opposing the Proposed Order

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"Wheeler" by Sentiment

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"Trump" by Favoring or Opposing the Proposed Order

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"Trump" by Sentiment

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"Obama" by Favoring or Opposing the Proposed Order

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"Obama" by Sentiment

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"Oliver" by Favoring or Opposing the Proposed Order

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"Oliver" by Sentiment

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Data Sources and Tools

  • FCC API
  • Anaconda IDE, Python
  • Census Bureau (2013) Gazetteer
  • Google BigQuery
  • RStudio, sentiment analysis (sentiment.R, tidytext, AFINN)
  • Stata 15
  • Google Cloud Dataprep
  • Google Fusion Tables
  • Google Charts JS
  • Google Data Studio

Sample Comments

Here are a few sample comments.

Mad/Libs Comments

"I (urge/advocate) you to rescind (the previous administration’s, president obama’s, tom wheelers’s, obama/wheelers’s) (order/plan/decision/policy/scheme) to (takeover/control/regulate) (broadband/the web/the internet/internet access)"

Customer Service Comments

"i have xfinity internet and it has been going off line many times day and night since june 28th 2017. it’s a problem in the whole building because all my neighbor’s go off line they same time i do. we have called xfinity many many time’s and as of today 7/21/2017 nothing has been fixed. we still have the problem every day. i had 4 xfinity techs out and was told it is a outside wire problem and a bigger job for a tech so i would need the maintenance crew from xfinity to do the job and look into the problem. i am still waiting but no help and still a problem with the internet. i seem to be getting the run around from xfinity. i hope you can help. thank you for your time.”

News Comments

"removing net neutrality is a liberal ploy to block fair and unbiased news like breitbart from succeeding. sad. this is all a goal to kill fox and wsj, while giving a giant bailout to the failing new york times, failing nbc, and liberal washington post."

Ambiguous Comments

"supporting net neutrality is un-american and pro-censorship. locking certain speeds/sites behind a paywall not only goes against the entire idea of the internet, but it also puts monetary value over people’s rights to equal access. it is wrong and, quite frankly, disgusting that this is even an issue being talked about as if it had any legitimacy further than companies wanting more money."

Impolite Comments

"“My Dearest Fools, You f****** cannot rest for one motherf****** moment before trying to f*** me in the a** once again. I sometimes, while alone and feeling insignificant and unwanted, step back and wonder if this must be pretty close to what it feels like to work for the FCC. And other times, when I turn on the TV and catch the latest anti-bullying commercial, I feel a tinge of disappointment, becuse aboviously people like yourselves could’ve used a little extra smacking around as kids. I plan to start a fund to provide medals for humanitarian acts to any abortion doctors who free the earth from the threat of your reproduction. You will not only be remembered as the pinnacle examples of worthless, corrupt pieces of s***, but also as worthless, corrupt pieces of s***who were boring to boot. BTW, .... you’re wife is ugly."

Libertarian Comments

"this just is not fair to the people! we the people need our privacy to what we search for online. not only that but we definitely do not want the fcc and the congress controlling what we do on the internet! as a fellow verizon user, i can say i am extremely happy with what me and my family have at this moment. we certainly do not want the fcc and congress taking control on what we do as well as see what we do. it just isnt fair to the privacy of people as well as the freedom that we have! i would seriously think about this, and put a great amount of thought into this situation!"

Poetic Comments

"bring back net neutrality. and also...

look, if you had, one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted. in one moment would you capture it, or just let it slip? yo

his palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy there’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti he’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs, but he keeps on forgetting what he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud he opens his mouth, but the words won’t come out he’s choking how, everybody’s joking now the clock’s run out, time’s up, over, blaow! snap back to reality. oh, there goes gravity oh, there goes rabbit, he choked he’s so mad, but he won’t give up that easy, no he won’t have it, he knows his whole back’s to these ropes it don’t matter, he’s dope he knows that but he’s broke he’s so sad that he knows when he goes back to his mobile home, that’s when it’s back to the lab again, yo this whole rhapsody he better go capture this moment and hope it don’t pass him

[hook:] you better lose yourself in the music, the moment you own it, you better never let it go (go) you only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow this opportunity comes once in a lifetime (yo) you better lose yourself in the music, the moment you own it, you better never let it go (go) you only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow this opportunity comes once in a lifetime (yo) (you better)

the soul’s escaping, through this hole that is gaping this world is mine for the taking make me king, as we move toward a new world order a normal life is boring, but superstardom’s close to postmortem it only grows harder, homie grows hotter he blows. it’s all over. these hoes is all on him coast to coast shows, he’s known as the globetrotter lonely roads, god only knows he’s grown farther from home, he’s no father he goes home and barely knows his own daughter but hold your nose ’cause here goes the cold water his hoes don’t want him no more, he’s cold product they moved on to the next schmoe who flows he nose dove and sold nada so the soap opera is told and unfolds i suppose it’s old partner, but the beat goes on da da dum da dum da da da da

[hook]

no more games, i’mma change what you call rage tear this motherf****** roof off like two dogs caged i was playing in the beginning, the mood all changed i’ve been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage but i kept rhyming and stepped right into the next cypher best believe somebody’s paying the pied piper

all the pai"

Classification Methodology

Phrase Classification

Posted at the bottom of this page are lists of phrases used to classify Docket 17-108 comments that were favoring or opposing the proposed order. In many comments, net neutrality seemed to be a partisan issue. In our sample, 99.9% of the time that “Obama” was mentioned, we coded the comments as favoring the proposed order. In our sample, 97.2% of the time “Trump” was mentioned, we coded comments opposing the proposed order. To clarify, we did not code any comments based on either of these two phrases alone.

Comments were all manually scanned to ensure that ambiguous search phrases like "oliver" (relevant because of the segment John Oliver ran on his show "Last Week tonight about net neutrality) were classified appropriately. All comments that mentioned the word oliver were opposing the proposed order (a few commenters happened to be named Oliver, and they were all opposing the proposed order). There was a strong preference in comments to criticize or attack the policy and leader that authors disagreed with, as opposed to supporting the leader of the policy they preferred.

Manual Classification

The remainder of comments, nearly 36,000 unique comments, were manually classified. These ambiguous comments were tagged as favoring or opposing the proposed order based on the best guess of the author’s intent. Many commenters seemed confused as to either what docket 17-108 is about or what the proposed order actually does.

For instance, one commenter wrote, “Supporting net neutrality is un-american and pro-censorship. locking certain speeds/sites behind a paywall not only goes against the entire idea of the internet, but it also puts monetary value over people’s rights to equal access.” In this example, the comment is classified as opposing the proposed order despite his explicit statement against it.

Often, authors seemingly didn’t make a specific point related to docket 17-108 at all. One commenter wrote, "Stop governmental overreach, stop micro managing the peoples lives. Help make the citizens accountable for their own actions but also let them have the option of choice." For this comment, the text was classified as opposing the proposed order. While the phrase “governmental overreach” was often used in comments in support of the proposed order in other cases, the author of this comment appeared to be against a change to the status quo, asking the FCC to not take further action, which would indicate that the author's intent was to express opposition to the proposed order.

Footnotes

The following phrases were used to classify 184,000 comments in favor or opposition to the proposed order, based on human judgment after reading several hundred comments and form letters.

Phrases in Favor of the Proposed Order

  • in 2015, chairman tom wheeler's federal communications commission (fcc) imposed restrictive title ii
  • power grab to regulate
  • power grab to control
  • power grab to take over
  • regulatory overreach
  • i'm a voter worried about Internet regulation and net neutrality
  • Obama's scheme
  • previous administration's scheme
  • obama's scheme
  • previous administrations scheme
  • wheeler's scheme
  • wheelers scheme
  • wheeler scheme
  • make sense to apply an 80 year-old regulatory scheme to the internet
  • rammed through a massive scheme
  • unprecedented increase in government control
  • light-touch regulation
  • i'm very worried about net neutrality regulations
  • i have concerns about an open internet
  • obama/wheeler
  • i am concerned about net neutrality rules
  • obama's order to take over internet access
  • obama's order to control the web
  • obama's policy to control the web
  • obama's decision to control broadband
  • previous administration's decision to control the web
  • obama's policy to control the internet
  • previous administration's plan to take over broadband
  • obama's decision to take over broadband
  • previous administration's decision to take over internet access
  • previous administration's policy to control broadband
  • previous administration's policy to control internet access
  • wheeler's policy to regulate broadband
  • previous administration's plan to take over the web
  • obama's plan to regulate the internet
  • obama's policy to regulate the web
  • obama's decision to regulate broadband
  • wheeler's policy to regulate the internet
  • obama's decision to take over internet access
  • obama's decision to control internet access
  • obama's policy to control internet access
  • obama's order to regulate the web
  • previous administration's plan to take over the internet
  • previous administration's order to take over broadband
  • obama's order to control broadband
  • previous administration's plan to control internet access
  • wheeler's plan to take over the internet
  • wheeler's order to control broadband
  • previous administration's plan to regulate broadband
  • obama's decision to control the internet
  • obama's plan to control the web
  • obama's order to take over the web
  • obama's decision to regulate the web
  • previous administration's order to regulate the internet
  • wheeler's order to take over broadband
  • obama's decision to regulate internet access
  • obama's policy to take over broadband
  • obama's decision to control the web
  • wheeler's order to control the web
  • obama's order to regulate broadband
  • previous administration's plan to control broadband
  • wheeler's order to regulate internet access
  • wheeler's decision to take over the internet
  • wheeler's decision to take over the web
  • obama's order to regulate the internet
  • previous administration's order to control broadband
  • previous administration's decision to regulate internet access
  • obama's policy to regulate the internet
  • previous administration's order to take over internet access
  • previous administration's decision to control internet access
  • wheeler's decision to regulate the web
  • obama's plan to control internet access
  • obama's plan to take over the internet
  • previous administration's decision to take over the web
  • obama's order to take over the internet
  • wheeler's order to take over the internet
  • wheeler's decision to regulate internet access
  • obama's policy to regulate internet access
  • obama's plan to control broadband
  • previous administration's policy to take over broadband
  • wheeler's decision to take over internet access
  • wheeler's order to regulate the internet
  • wheeler's policy to regulate internet access
  • previous administration's decision to take over broadband
  • wheeler's scheme to control the internet
  • previous administration's policy to control the web
  • obama's decision to take over the internet
  • previous administration's order to regulate the web
  • wheeler's plan to regulate the web
  • obama's plan to regulate internet access
  • obama's plan to take over the web
  • previous administration's decision to take over the internet
  • obama's plan to take over broadband
  • previous administration's decision to control broadband
  • wheeler's decision to take over broadband
  • the title ii order created a gaping gap in privacy protections
  • obama's order to control the internet
  • wheeler's plan to control broadband
  • wheeler's policy to regulate the web
  • obama's policy to take over the web
  • obama's policy to regulate broadband
  • wheeler's order to take over the web
  • obama's decision to take over the web
  • obama's policy to take over internet access
  • obama's plan to regulate broadband
  • obama's decision to regulate the internet
  • wheeler's order to take over internet access
  • previous administration's policy to regulate the web
  • wheeler's decision to regulate broadband
  • previous administration's policy to take over the internet
  • wheeler's plan to take over the web
  • obama's order to take over broadband
  • wheeler's policy to take over internet access
  • wheeler's plan to control internet access
  • wheeler's plan to regulate internet access
  • it disrupted a light-touch approach
  • previous administration's order to take over the web
  • obama's policy to control broadband
  • obama's order to control internet access
  • wheeler's order to control the internet
  • wheeler's policy to take over the web
  • previous administration's decision to regulate the internet
  • wheeler's policy to control the internet
  • wheeler's order to regulate the web
  • previous administration's decision to regulate broadband
  • previous administration's policy to take over the web
  • wheeler's order to regulate broadband
  • wheeler's policy to take over the internet
  • obama's plan to take over internet access
  • obama's plan to regulate the web
  • wheeler's policy to control the web
  • obama's policy to take over the internet
  • wheeler's policy to take over broadband
  • wheeler's policy to control broadband
  • previous administration's policy to regulate broadband
  • wheeler's plan to regulate broadband
  • wheeler's policy to control internet access
  • wheeler's decision to control broadband
  • previous administration's plan to control the internet
  • previous administration's order to control the web
  • previous administration's plan to regulate the internet
  • previous administration's policy to regulate internet access
  • previous administration's policy to control the internet
  • obama's plan to control the internet
  • previous administration's policy to take over internet access
  • wheeler's decision to regulate the internet
  • obama's order to regulate internet access
  • wheeler's decision to control the web
  • wheeler's plan to regulate the internet
  • previous administration's policy to regulate the internet
  • previous administration's plan to regulate the web
  • enable the federal government to exert an extraordinary and unnecessary amount of regulatory control
  • wheeler's plan to take over internet access
  • wheeler's order to control internet access
  • previous administration's plan to take over internet access
  • previous administration's decision to control the internet
  • previous administration's plan to regulate internet access
  • title ii regulation gives too much power to the government over the future of the internet
  • net neutrality rules were written in the obama white house by political staff and tech industry special interests
  • obama's net neutrality order was the corrupt result of a corrupt process
  • wheeler's plan to control the internet
  • set the internet free and remove the inappropriate, unnecessary and overly vast regulations
  • title ii regulation is burdensome and unnecessary
  • the internet is best regulated by light-touch ftc regulation
  • those pushing hardest for the new rules were silicon valley monopolies
  • wealthy leftist billionaires and powerful silicon valley monopolies took the internet out of the hands of the people
  • has already been substantially slowed by the 2015 net neutrality rules
  • title ii is a depression-era regulatory framework designed for a telephone monopoly that no longer exists
  • wheeler's plan to control the web
  • previous administration's order to control internet access
  • previous administration's decision to regulate the web
  • previous administration's plan to control the web
  • obama's federal communications commission (fcc) forced regulations on the internet
  • rapacious silicon valley monopolies like amazon, twitter and netflix are now openly partnering with neo-marxists like free press
  • previous administration's order to regulate internet access
  • previous administration's order to control the internet
  • previous administration's order to regulate broadband
  • wheeler's decision to control the internet
  • wheeler's decision to control internet access
  • previous administration's order to take over the internet
  • replacing light-touch with heavy-handed regulation
  • wheeler's plan to take over broadband
  • net neutrality has created an unreliable landscape
  • obama's federal communications commission (fcc) forced regulations on the internet
  • they hurt taxpayers and consumers by expanding the regulatory reach of the fcc

Phrases in Opposition to the Proposed Order

  • the fcc's open internet rules (net neutrality rules) are extremely important to me
  • net neutrality is important
  • net neutrality is s*** because without it our ISPs will spy on us
  • I support strong net neutrality
  • pay-to-play
  • pay to play
  • i am in support of strong net neutrality
  • strong net neutrality
  • strong internet neutrality
  • i support net neutrality
  • i strongly support net neutrality
  • net neutrality backed by title ii
  • preserve net neutrality
  • upheld
  • specifically support strong net neutraility
  • support net neutrality backed by title 2
  • strong net-neutrality
  • leave net neutrality alone
  • preserve title ii
  • protect net neutrality
  • maintain internet neutrality
  • maintain net neutrality
  • i'll be forced to pay more to access the sites i want
  • strong supporter of net neutrality
  • the fcc open internet rules (net neutrality rules) are extremely important to me
  • i believe net neutrality should remain
  • keeping the bright-line net neutrality
  • backed by title ii
  • stand up for net neutrality
  • fcc should stand up for internet users
  • maintaining net neutrality protections under title ii
  • defend the rights of millions of internet users by upholding net neutrality protections
  • stand up for internet users like me and keep the net
  • by opposing efforts to undermine net
  • as an internet user, i'm asking the fcc to protect the net
  • asking the fcc to protect the net neutrality
  • (net neutrality rules) are extremely important to me
  • support of net neutrality
  • strongly support net neurtrality
  • i strongly oppose the fcc's proposal to rescind the open internet order and to reclassify broadband internet access
  • fcc's open internet (net neutrality) rules are extremely important
  • (net neutrality rules) are extremely important
  • i support the existing net neutrality
  • open internet rules are extremely important
  • net neutrality rules are extremely important
  • net neutrality is extremely important
  • please keep net neutrality
  • do not kill net neutrality
  • not f****** russia, china
  • net neutrality is a human right
  • i strongly support a free and open internet
  • i am in favor of net neutrality
  • we need net neutralityto continue
  • net neutrality is very important
  • i fully support net neutrality
  • i strongly support net-neutrality
  • please continue to support net neutrality
  • i strongly support title 2
  • strongly in favor of net neutrality
  • express my support for net neutrality
  • please maintain an open and free internet
  • please support net neutrality
  • net neutrality must be protected
  • strong title 2
  • oliver
  • don't kill net neutralit
  • greedy
  • free speech
  • intends to reverse net neutrality rules and put big internet service providers
  • i support strict title ii
  • keep isps on title ii
  • strong support for title ii
  • keep all isps under title 2
  • keep isps under title 2
  • the open internet rules (net neutrality) are extremely important to me
  • net neutrality is the most important topic
  • they're telecommunications carriers
  • net neutrality guarantees a free and open internet
  • please keep title 2
  • please keep title ii
  • isp
  • i am writing to encourage you to work together in support of an open internet
  • americans have come to depend on an open internet
  • a free and open internet is vital for our democracy
  • net neutrality is a basic human right
  • make sure net neutrality does not dissapear
  • net neutrality is a serious topic. please do not implement weakend regulations
  • the internet is a basic necessity
  • net neutrality is not negotiable
  • we deserve a free and open internet with strong title ii rules
  • please restore net neutrality
  • the proposal to modify the net neutrality rules is unwanted
  • the internet is not a communication company golden egg laying goose
  • i believe the only way to permanently guarantee an open internet is by congress creating a law that all companies must follow that promotes transparency and prevents blocking, censorship and discriminatory throttling
  • i am in favor of protecting the open internet with legislation that will codify the principles of transparency and no blocking
  • i am writing today in support of preserving an open internet
  • permanently preserve an open internet
  • quickly on a permanent legislative fix to preserve an open internet
  • other members of congress to pass bipartisan legislation that would codify the principles of transparency, no blocking, no censorship, and no discriminatory throttling and apply them to all internet companies
  • no one could reasonably argue that the public would benefit from a more restrictive, less open internet
  • i believe that an open internet is critical to ensuring that robust job growth