The creator of the World Wide Web says his creation is in danger - but luckily for everyone, he has a plan to save it.
At an event in Berlin, Sir Tim Berners-Lee declared that the world is staring into a “digital dystopia”, with things like countries meddling in other countries’ elections, hate speech and fake news running rampant.
To combat the threat, he has forged a plan called “Contract for the Web”, which requires a combined effort of governments, companies and citizens, to make sure the internet remains a “force for good”.
“The power of the web to transform people’s lives, enrich society and reduce inequality is one of the defining opportunities of our time,” Berners-Lee said. “But if we don’t act now – and act together – to prevent the web being misused by those who want to exploit, divide and undermine, we are at risk of squandering that potential.”
More than 160 organisations have already expressed their support for the contract, including software behemoths Google and Microsoft, as well as the social media giant Facebook.
The contract lays out nine key principles, which include extra effort by businesses and governments, to protect user data and privacy. Another key principle is to make sure everyone has access to the internet, at affordable prices. It also urges companies to “develop technologies that support the best in humanity and challenge the worst”.
It was recently uncovered that a political analytics company Cambridge Analytica used Facebook data, without user consent, to forge better political messages. Many obscure news outlets make up fake stories that get shared over social media, often becoming viral and hate speech has been around since the very creation of the internet.