Today is the World Wide Web's 30th birthday, and its father has some serious concerns about his brainchild.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, – "the Father of the World Wide Web" – published an open letter on the World Wide Web Foundation website (an organization he also founded), in which he reflected on how far the web has come, and how far it has yet to go.
In the letter, Berners-Lee called the "fight" for the web "one of the most important causes of our time."
"And while the web has created opportunity, given marginalised groups a voice, and made our daily lives easier, it has also created opportunity for scammers, given a voice to those who spread hatred, and made all kinds of crime easier to commit," he wrote.
There are several problems that are infecting the web.
Berners-Lee outlined three "sources of dysfunction" that are impacting the web:
Deliberate, malicious intent, such as state-sponsored hacking and attacks, criminal behaviour, and online harassment.
System design that creates perverse incentives where user value is sacrificed, such as ad-based revenue models that commercially reward clickbait and the viral spread of misinformation.
Unintended negative consequences of benevolent design, such as the outraged and polarised tone and quality of online discourse.