British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee – known as the inventor of the World Wide Web, says that the internet has become a cesspool of “clickbait and the viral spread of misinformation,” which needs to be “changed for the better,” reports CNBC. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Image via Wikimedia Commons
In a Monday letter marking 30 years since he created a blueprint for the WWW in March 1989, the 63-year-old Oxford/MIT professor outlined three “sources of dysfunction” affecting the internet today; malicious behavior such as state-sponsored hacking and online harassment, “perverse” incentives driving misinformation, and unintended negative consequences such as polarizing, unhealthy conversations.
“Governments must translate laws and regulations for the digital age,” said Berners-Lee. “They must ensure markets remain competitive, innovative and open.“
Berners-Lee singled out Google and Facebook for rewarding clickbait and misinformation. He has previously knocked the tech giants for exploiting people’s personal data.
“Companies must do more to ensure their pursuit of short-term profit is not at the expense of human rights, democracy, scientific fact or public safety,” reads the Monday letter.
Last October, Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web foundation released a new blueprint in order to help put the web back on its original course. Known as the “Contract for the Web,” the plan calls for governments to ensure that everyone can connect to the internet – which is kept “available, all of the time,” and respects people’s “fundamental right to privacy.” It also calls on businesses to make the internet affordable to everyone as well as respect data privacy rights.
One pillar of the contract is treating the web as a basic right for everyone, an idea that is far from reality today. The World Bank estimates roughly half of the world’s population still does not have access to the internet…
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