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Watch: John Oliver tells you exactly why you should care about net neutrality

Comedian demands that internet trolls direct their bile in a useful direction for once.

If you’ve turned away every time you’ve read the words “net neutrality”, assuming it’s some deeply dull technical tomfoolery that is best left to the experts, then let John Oliver set you straight.

Oliver gets a bum rap sometimes in the UK for having a very American comic sensibility (i.e., he shouts a lot), but in his new role as anchor of Last Week Tonight on HBO he’s been knocking it out of the park. It’s the Daily Show, with one important addition: swearing. And he uses it here to great effect.

Net neutrality, you see, shouldn’t be called net neutrality - it should be called “cable company fuckery”. It’s a bald-faced attempt by American cable companies to turn their influence in the US Congress into a chance to make even more money for an even worse service than they already provide, and in the process ruin the internet. (Yep, even though this is a US regulatory issue, it could both ruin US-based web services for international users and give a dangerous precedent that ISPs in other countries could use to push for their own law changes.)

This Thursday, major websites like reddit, Imgur and Boing Boing are repeating the successful anti-SOPA protests and “going dark” in protest against the Federal Communication Commission’s possible acceptance of a two-tier internet. And in the meantime Oliver wants the internet’s very worst comment trolls - you know who are - to take full advantage of the FCC’s request for public comments on the matter.

In Oliver's words: "fly, my pretties!"

Ian Steadman is a staff science and technology writer at the New Statesman. He is on Twitter as @iansteadman.