The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to relax rules around so-called net neutrality.
The rules prevented internet service providers (ISPs) from charging customers extra for access to certain sites or services.
Without the regulation, ISPs can charge consumers for access to "bundles" of internet usage, which will give them a faster connection to whichever sites they visit most, whether that's social media or streaming services.
Many tech firms have already voiced concern over the change.
We’re disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity & civic engagement. This is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix stands w/ innovators, large & small, to oppose this misguided FCC order.— Netflix US (@netflix) December 14, 2017
Streaming service Netflix criticised the move, though it has previously told shareholders it had enough popularity among consumers to dodge extra charges from ISPs.
Twitter said the move will hamper "innovation and free expression".
The @FCC's vote to gut #NetNeutrality rules is a body blow to innovation and free expression. We will continue our fight to defend the open Internet and reverse this misguided decision. https://t.co/TXTQWDiBNC— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) December 14, 2017
COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote on Facebook that the company was prepared to work with Congress to resolve the issue.
Today’s decision from the Federal Communications Commission to end net neutrality is disappointing and harmful. An open internet is critical for new ideas and economic opportunity – and internet providers shouldn't be able to decide what people can see online or charge more for certain websites.
Although AT&T could take the opportunity to charge online services and customers more under the deregulation, vice president of external affairs Bob Quinn insisted "the internet will continue to work tomorrow just as it always has".
We do not block websites, nor censor online content, nor throttle or degrade traffic based on the content, nor unfairly discriminate in our treatment of internet traffic.
He added that the company supported a legislative solution.
It’s disheartening that the #FCC chose to ignore the public and approve a policy that benefits the few and powerful at the expense of creators, and the stories they work to tell. We look forward to challenging this misguided decision in court. #NetNeutrality— Vimeo (@Vimeo) December 14, 2017
Vimeo channelled Jeremy Corbyn, saying the policy benefited the few, rather than the many.
Chief executive Steve Huffman posted a statement on the website, saying the decision was disappointing but that the fight for net neutrality would continue.
He said while it was unclear what will happen next, one thing was certain: "Reddit will continue to be involved in this issue in the way that we know best: seeking out every opportunity to amplify your voices and share them with those who have the power to make a difference."