John Oliver Fans Crashed the FCC’s Comment System

John Oliver Fans Crashed the FCC’s Comment System

In May of 2017, months before the FCC voted on its controversial rollback of net neutrality regulations, the government agency’s online comment system crashed. Officials blamed a DDoS attack, but many observers were skeptical. Now, the agency’s own investigation has revealed the truth: it wasn’t a DDoS attack, it was just a whole bunch of John Oliver fans.

On the May 7, 2017 episode of his HBO show Last Week Tonight, John Oliver urged his viewers to file pro-net neutrality comments with the FCC. Oliver directed viewers to a URL,, which rerouted them straight to the FCC’s online comment system. When enthusiastic Last Week Tonight fans flooded in to defend net neutrality, the FCC’s site promptly crashed.

That’s all pretty funny, but it’s more than a little strange that the FCC has taken so long to admit what happened. Senior FCC officials blamed a DDoS attack, prompting a full investigation that is only just now wrapping up. FCC chairman Ajit Pai has blamed the FCC’s former chief intelligence officer, David Bray, for the phony DDoS theory. Pai vehemently denied knowing that the DDoS theory was false and called suspicions to the contrary “conspiracy theories.”

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About the Author

Stephen Lovely
Stephen Lovely
Stephen Lovely is a freelance writer and a longtime cord cutter with a passion for technology and entertainment. You can find his work on and his tweets at @stephenlovely.

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