The FCC Insists That John Oliver’s Audience Did Not Crash Its Comments Section

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Photo: Eric Liebowitz/HBO

On Sunday, John Oliver issued another fiery indictment of the FCC’s responsibility in protecting net neutrality. Oliver specifically called out FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai as a Big Lebowski–quoting goof who downplays the need for strict regulation over making sure internet service providers give users unbiased access to all content on the internet. At the end of the segment, Oliver urged Last Week Tonight viewers to press the FCC to advocate for net neutrality and said the show bought the URL gofccyourself.com, which redirects to the FCC’s comments section. Now, the FCC would really like you to know that it’s a total coincidence their comments section crashed after Oliver’s broadcast. The FCC’s chief information officer released a statement addressing the incident:

Beginning on Sunday night at midnight, our analysis reveals that the FCC was subject to multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS). These were deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host. These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves; rather they made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access and file with the FCC. While the comment system remained up and running the entire time, these DDoS events tied up the servers and prevented them from responding to people attempting to submit comments.

TL;DR: The FCC’s comment system absolutely did not crash because John Oliver deployed the internet’s denizens with a viral video. The site was subject to denial-of-service attacks, and the FCC would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that they never asked to be a part of, et cetera.

FCC Insists John Oliver’s Audience Didn’t Overload Site