When the World Wide Web was named 30 years ago by Mr Tim Berners-Lee, he envisioned a world of free flow of information, and a a force for good. However, he is clearly disappointed with the ad-based business models that include “perverse incentives” as he now finds it dysfunctional – he gives reasons why.
The British computer scientist, Tim Berners-Lee thought he had laid out an information management system which would become in March 1989, the World Wide Web. He was full of excitement back in the day as he knew he had a blueprint to radically transform society as half of the 7.2 billion people on earth moved on line and onto social media in the past three decades. He now say that the dysfunction was expressed in several ways but he singled out the ad-based revenue models, used by many tech giants including Google and Facebook, with the result being “clickbait and the viral spread of misinformation.”
In an letter on Monday in which parts appeared on CNBC on 11 March, 2019, the WWW founder (he gave it away for free) said that “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.” He made it clear that citizens should play the most important role in fostering healthy conversations on the internet and talking responsibility for their personal data.
He pointed out that regulators around the world are weighing measures against big tech for their usage of personal data. Also, he noted that hate speech and bullying has become a hot-button issue for tech companies but injected the free speech and potentially harmful content on line.
He also tabled a “Contract for the Web” which laid out guidelines for citizens, companies and governments to help put the web back on track to be a positive force in society. We will hear more about the contract in the coming weeks and months. Finally, the World Bank estimates that roughly half of the world`s population still does not use the internet, many not having any access at all.