• Revision ID 54768 REVISION
  • 2018-03-12 16:48:26
  • by Harry Ridgewell (talk | contribs)
  • Note: change headline, added in quotes
  • Revision ID 54770 REVISION
  • 2018-03-12 17:12:36
  • by Burhan Wazir (talk | contribs)
  • Note: Rewritten with news intro
 
   
Title Title
Inventor of the World Wide Web's suggests social media companies be regulated  Tim Berners-Lee says large social media companies need to be regulated
Summary Summary
Berners-Lee: We're engaging with the web on too few platforms which has 'made it possible to weaponise the web' Berners-Lee: We're engaging with the web on too few platforms which has 'made it possible to weaponise the web'
Highlights Highlights
Content Content
  Sir Tim Berners-Lee, net neutrality advocate and inventor of the world wide web, published an <a href="https://webfoundation.org/2018/03/web-birthday-29/">open letter</a> today calling for large technology companies to be regulated to prevent the web from being "weaponised at scale".
  He added that social media companies have "been built to maximize profit more than to maximize social good. A legal or regulatory framework that accounts for social objectives may help ease those tensions."
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, net neutrality advocate and inventor of the world wide web, published an <a href="https://webfoundation.org/2018/03/web-birthday-29/">open letter</a> today saying companies have "been built to maximize profit more than to maximize social good. A legal or regulatory framework that accounts for social objectives may help ease those tensions." On the web's 29th birthday, Berners-Lee warned that since power is concentrated among a small number of companies, it is "possible to weaponise the web at scale." Writing on the 29th anniversary of his invention, Berners-Lee warned of power being concentrated with a small number of companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter. "What was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms. This concentration of power creates a new set of gatekeepers, allowing a handful of platforms to control which ideas and opinions are seen and shared."
He wrote, "What was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms," in a letter published on the World Wide Web Foundation website. "This concentration of power creates a new set of gatekeepers, allowing a handful of platforms to control which ideas and opinions are seen and shared."  
He explained that this dominance of a few technology giants - Facebook, Twitter, etc - is creating barriers for competitors and has allowed conspiracy theories to spread on social media. Speaking to <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2017/12/04/internet/nine-questions-with-the-world-wide-webs-inventor-tim-berners-lee/26054/"><em>WikiTribune</em></a> last year, Berners-Lee said: "I as a member of the web should be holding these people and these web properties to account and say, 'Oh, you need to do better. You need to reprogram these things so we get a less polarized world.'"  
Within the letter he also commented it was a "myth that advertising is the only possible business model for online companies" and that it is not too late for media platforms to change.  
  Last year, Berners-Lee told <em>WikiTribune</em> that the dominance of a few technology giants is creating barriers for competitors and has allowed conspiracy theories to flourish on social media. He said: "I as a member of the web should be holding these people and these web properties to account and say, 'Oh, you need to do better. You need to reprogram these things so we get a less polarized world.'"
  In the open letter, published on the World Wide Web Foundation website, Berners-Lee also said it was a "myth that advertising is the only possible business model for online companies".
Today's move comes after he called for tighter regulation of online political advertising last year, which he said was being used in “unethical ways” (<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/11/tim-berners-lee-online-political-advertising-regulation"><em>Guardian</em></a>). Today's move comes after he called for tighter regulation of online political advertising last year, which he said was being used in “unethical ways” (<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/11/tim-berners-lee-online-political-advertising-regulation"><em>Guardian</em></a>).
Berners-Lee's letter also notes that without investment the last billion people who have yet to access the internet will not be online until 2042 <a class="u-underline" href="http://a4ai.org/affordability-report/report/2017/" data-link-name="in body link">(Alliance for Affordable Internet)</a>. Berners-Lee's letter also warned of the risks of a digital divide and inequality unless more work was done to connect the disadvantaged to the internet. "If we do not invest seriously in closing this gap, the last billion will not be <a href="http://a4ai.org/affordability-report/report/2017/">connected until 2042</a>. That’s an entire generation left behind."
In 2016, the UN passed a non-binding resolution that disruption of internet access is a human rights violation (<a href="https://www.theverge.com/2016/7/4/12092740/un-resolution-condemns-disrupting-internet-access"><em>The Verge</em></a>). And at the beginning of this year the UN Broadband Commission launched 2025 targets (<a href="https://www.itu.int/en/mediacentre/Pages/2018-PR01.aspx">ITU</a>), including adopting the Alliance for Affordable Internet’s <a class="u-underline" href="http://a4ai.org/1for2-affordability-target/" data-link-name="in body link">threshold for affordability target,</a> which says entry-level broadband services should be less than 2 percent of average monthly incomes. In 2016, the UN passed a non-binding resolution that disruption of internet access is a human rights violation (<a href="https://www.theverge.com/2016/7/4/12092740/un-resolution-condemns-disrupting-internet-access"><em>The Verge</em></a>). And at the beginning of this year the UN Broadband Commission launched 2025 targets (<a href="https://www.itu.int/en/mediacentre/Pages/2018-PR01.aspx">ITU</a>), including adopting the Alliance for Affordable Internet’s <a class="u-underline" href="http://a4ai.org/1for2-affordability-target/" data-link-name="in body link">threshold for affordability target,</a> which says entry-level broadband services should be less than 2 percent of average monthly incomes.
Berners-Lee explained that universal access is still a long way off, with only 19 of the 51 countries analyzed in the alliance's <a href="http://a4ai.org/affordability-report/report/2017/">2017 Affordability Report</a> having achieved this goal.  Berners-Lee said that universal access is still a long way off, with only 19 of the 51 countries analyzed in the alliance's <a href="http://a4ai.org/affordability-report/report/2017/">2017 Affordability Report</a> having achieved this goal.
See the full open letter <a href="https://webfoundation.org/2018/03/web-birthday-29/">here.</a>  Read the full open letter <a href="https://webfoundation.org/2018/03/web-birthday-29/">here.</a>
Categories Categories
Culture, Economics, Human Rights, Internet, Media, Technology, Internet Culture, Economics, Human Rights, Internet, Media, Technology, Internet
Article type Article type
emerging emerging
Tags Tags
internet freedom, net neutrality, Tim Berners Lee, world wide web internet freedom, net neutrality, Tim Berners Lee, world wide web
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