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The rift between tech firms and activists

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Big tech companies and their longtime allies on the grassroots left are at odds over how to deal with net neutrality — and the fight is getting nasty.

Why it matters: The long-time alliance between giant tech companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon and progressive advocates has been a powerful weapon in fights over copyright and surveillance reform. But the current squabbling makes it harder for the tech industry to get what it needs from Republicans and robs the activists of a united front as they fight an uphill battle to preserve the current rules.

The key difference: Big tech, while supportive of the net neutrality rules, has been far more open to a legislative compromise to finally end the net neutrality bickering. Many activists, though, are taking a harder line against any movement from the current utility-style regulations. That tension has been simmering for months and is boiling over at a crucial point in the lobbying battle.