On the 29th anniversary of the World Wide Web, its
inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee voiced the need for
stricter regulations of the few companies that control the web.
In an open letter published on the World
Wide Web Foundation website, he discussed the major challenges
we need to overcome in order to restore the web to the ideal
version he envisioned.
The large gap between the section of people who can access the
internet and those who cannot is deepening the existing
inequalities of the world.
Lee said, “you’re more likely to be offline if you are female,
poor, live in a rural area or a low-income country, or some
combination of the above.”
To remain offline in the present day means losing out on
opportunities to learn, earn and participate in democratic
debates which is why he encouraged everyone to close this gap
for the betterment of society.
“What was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has
been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant
He talked about the concentration of power among few major
tech corporations such as Google and Facebook which makes
it “possible to weaponize the web at scale.”
The Web founder is concerned about the creation of online
gatekeepers who allow only “a handful of platforms to
control which ideas and opinions are seen and shared.”
The recent times have seen a tremendous rise in the conspiracy
theories that trend on social media websites, the creation
of fake Facebook and Twitter accounts to rile up social
tensions, manipulation of elections through external factors
and criminal activity such as stealing of personal data.
Even though the tech companies are well aware of these issues
and have also developed systems that can tackle these problems
but he argues that they have been created to “maximise
profit more than to maximise social good”.
He, therefore, called out the need to formulate “a legal or
regulatory framework that accounts for social
objectives” that can help in solving these issues.
Talking further about the dominant platforms, he shared his
concerns on how creativity is decreasing gradually and will
degrade further in the next 20 years as these companies
continue to increase their power.
They acquire upcoming competitors, buy new innovations and hire
topmost talent of the industry which makes it difficult
for budding innovators to compete.
So Lee invited “the brightest minds from business, technology,
government, civil society, the arts and academia” to join hands
together to address the threats to the web’s future.