Net Neutrality| Narrowing the Gap: Gender and Mobilization in Net Neutrality Advocacy

Deen Freelon, Amy B. Becker, Bob Lannon, Andrew Pendleton


In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission moved to regulate the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, handing net neutrality advocates a major victory. This followed years of impassioned advocacy by a wide range of ideological actors. This study examines several factors that influenced the gender gap in one prominent type of net neutrality activism: messages submitted to the commission during the first of two official comment periods in 2014. Our computational analysis of more than 800,000 such comments identifies and profiles 11 distinct advocacy campaigns that together accounted for nearly 60% of commenters. We find that progressive campaigns attracted relatively high proportions of female commenters, whereas conservative and tech-focused campaigns overwhelmingly elicited responses from men.


gender gap, Federal Communications Commission, data science, computational, feminism, Internet

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