FCC Calls Operation Chokehold “Irresponsible,” Fake Steve Backs Down

Fake Steve is backing down from Operating Chokehold as the FCC calls it "irresponsible."

Fake Steve is backing down from Operating Chokehold as the FCC calls it "irresponsible."

As the FCC calls Fake Steve’s fast-growing Operation Chokehold “irresponsible,” Fake Steve is backing down from the protest he started as a joke.

Contacted by ABCNews, the chief of the FCC’s public safety and homeland security bureau warned iPhone users against crashing AT&T’s network. In a statement, he said:

“Threats of this nature are serious and we caution the public to use common sense and good judgment when accessing the Internet from their commercial mobile devices… To purposely try to disrupt or negatively impact a network with ill-intent is irresponsible and presents a significant public safety concern.”

As reported earlier, Fake Steve’s Operation Chokehold — which started as a joke — is growing fast. The number of Facebook fans has jumped from about 300 on Tuesday to more than 2,000 by Wednesday afternoon.

Indeed, the protest is growing so fast it has alarmed Fake Steve, aka Newsweek columnist Dan Lyons, who is backing down.

“I’m trying to find a way to spin it down and get everyone to back off,” he said in an email.

On his blog, Lyons is now asking protesters not to overwhelm AT&T’s network. Instead, Lyons is suggesting a flashmob-style protest outside AT&T’s stores. The suggestion isn’t going down so well with some readers.

“Don’t turn pussy, Lyons,” wote mark2000 in the comments.

“Don’t apologize, backpedal, or otherwise wimp out,” added reader jycitizen. “I don’t think this will have a Y2K effect on the overall service if people participate in this so called flash mob. I do hope it will be enough of a PR gaffe that companies like AT&T will stop taking their customers for granted, and will shine the light back on issues of consumer protection and net neutrality.”

Fake Steve called on disgruntled AT&T customers to bring AT&T’s data network “to its knees” at 12 noon PST this Friday, December 18. (Here’s Fake Steve’s original Operation Chokehold post).

The action was prompted by comments made by AT&T’s CEO Ralph de la Vega that some iPhone users are using too much data.

About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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