Sir Tim Berners-Lee stays committed to the World Wide Web

Tim Berners-Lee says regulation of the Web may be needed

Berners-Lee said this will result in "far less" innovation over the next 20 years than that seen during the web's infancy. In the letter, he outlined what he thinks we need to do to save the Web from the concentration of power of a "few dominant platforms" that has "made it possible to weaponize the Web at scale". This is because the dominant platforms now have the power to buy startup challengers, acquire the latest technologies and hire away the top talent.

Google now accounts for about 87 per cent of online searches worldwide.

Facebook, which boasts 2.2. billion users, has come under fire for the proliferation of fake news on its platform.

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Berners-Lee goes on to say that the while the dominant platforms have tried to act, "The responsibility - and sometimes burden - of making these decisions falls on companies that have been built to maximise profit more than to maximise social good".

He suggested that a legal or regulatory framework that "accounts for social objectives" could help in an industry that's created to maximize profit instead of the "social good". "On both points, we need to be a little more creative", he writes towards the end of the letter. "I want the web to reflect our hopes and fulfil our dreams, rather than magnify our fears and deepen our divisions", he continued.

This still leaves a gaping "digital divide" that exacerbates existing inequalities: you are more likely to be offline if you are female, poor, or live in a rural area or a low-income country. While the United Nations has declared internet access as a human right, mobile internet still isn't affordable in many developing countries which deprives many off the opportunities to learn and access valuable services. "That's an entire generation left behind", he wrote.

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"In 2016, the United Nations declared internet access a human right, on par with clean water, electricity, shelter and food", said the 62-year-old British computer scientist. And at the beginning of this year the UN Broadband Commission launched 2025 targets (ITU), including adopting the Alliance for Affordable Internet's threshold for affordability target, which says entry-level broadband services should be less than two percent of average monthly incomes. In Zimbabwe, it is almost 45 per cent.

In his letter, Berners-Lee criticized tech giants like Twitter and Facebook for having too much control over the Internet, and suggested more regulation.

Now, the country's Federal Election Commission is preparing to push through regulations for greater transparency on political ads on digital platforms.

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Berners-Lee also believes that the web is not what it use to be. However, his vision to create an "open platform that allows anyone to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographical boundaries" has been challenged as the web has become more centralised.

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