By Florence Onuegbu
As the World Wide Web (www) marks its 28th years in existence, its inventor, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, says that the web has lived up to its vision but wants action against fake news.
Berners-Lee said on Sunday that March 12 marked 28 years since he submitted his original proposal for the web.
He said that he imagined the web as an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information.
According to him, the www is a platform to access opportunities and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries.
“In many ways, the web has lived up to this vision, though it has been a recurring battle to keep it open,’’ he said.
Berners-Lee said that he established ‘The Web Foundation’ in 2009 to be at the forefront of the fight to advance and protect the web for everyone.
He said that advancing and protecting the web was essential to reverse growing inequality and empower citizens.
“It has taken all of us to build the web we have, and now it is up to all of us to build the web we want for everyone.
“Today, we are working with more than 160 partner organisations to advance our mission in over 70 countries.
“We are helping to change the lives of over two billion people by connecting everyone, raising voices and enhancing participation through the open web.
“We are building a future in which the web empowers everyone, everywhere, to take part in building a fairer world,’’ the web inventor said.
Berners-Lee said that the Web Foundation blended powerful advocacy, cutting-edge research and practical innovation to build a better web for all.
He also told ITV that he is concerned about the impact of fake news, as he revealed plans to tackle “unethical” political advertising and the gathering of data.
The British computer scientist said – exactly 28 years after his world-changing invention – that three new trends have become alarming in the last year.
In an open letter published on Sunday, Sir Tim, 61, said that the misuse of data has created a “chilling effect” on free speech, and warned of democracy-corrupting “internet blind spots”.
One issue, he said, was that most people find their information through a “handful” of sites and search engines, which are paid by clicks.
“The net result is that these sites show us content they think we’ll click on – meaning that misinformation, or fake news, which is surprising, shocking, or designed to appeal to our biases, can spread like wildfire,” he added.
“And through the use of data science and armies of bots, those with bad intentions can game the system to spread misinformation for financial or political gain.”