MANILA, Philippines - The inventor of the internet, Sir Tim Berners-Lee celebrated the 29th anniversary of the World Wide Web by voicing his concerns over its current state in an open letter he posted online.
Berners-Lee warns of the dangers in having a few dominant tech platforms control what is being seen and shared on the web. These same companies make it even more difficult for competitors to bring innovation when they’re eventually bought out and acquired by them.
Much of the current concerns in misinformation and fake news stems from power being in the hands of these few companies which include social media giants that can weaponize the web, as Berners-Lee briefly discussed in his previous letter.
“In recent years, we’ve seen conspiracy theories trend on social media platforms, fake Twitter and Facebook accounts stoke social tensions, external actors interfere in elections, and criminals steal troves of personal data,” Berners-Lee wrote. (READ: Falsehoods 70% more likely to be retweeted than the truth – study)
He continues by arguing that lawmakers should not look to these same companies for the solution as they’re likely driven by increasing their profits rather than bringing about social good. Because of this, Berners-Lee believes the best option is to create a regulatory framework centered around social objectives.
In the same letter, he stresses the importance of inclusion and diversity of ideas; hoping that the last billion people who have yet to connect online can soon have internet access. What’s more is he questions current Internet business models, insisting that online advertising is not the only way to sustain a platform. (READ: Germany threatens online giants with 50M-euro hate speech fines)
“Today, I want to challenge us all to have greater ambitions for the web. I want the web to reflect our hopes and fulfil our dreams, rather than magnify our fears and deepen our divisions,” Berners-Lee adds. – Rappler.com