Happy 29th birthday world wide web: Inventor slams tech giants

Sir Tim Berners-Lee said a few dominant platforms are controlling the world wide web.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor
Sir Tim Berners-Lee (Image: World Wide Web Consortium)

The world wide web turned 29 on Monday. To celebrate, its inventor, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, penned a letter calling for "strong standards that balance the interests of both companies and online citizens."

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

"The web that many connected to years ago is not what new users will find today," Berners-Lee said in a blog post. "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 said.

Berners-Lee also discussed closing the digital divide: You're more likely to be offline if you're female, poor, or live in a rural area or a low-income country.

"To be offline today is to be excluded from opportunities to learn and earn, to access valuable services, and to participate in democratic debate. If we do not invest seriously in closing this gap, the last billion will not be connected until 2042. That's an entire generation left behind," he said.

In his 2017 letter, Sir Tim Berners-Lee warned of the fake news threat and that people are losing control of their personal data.

Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus: The 12 most exciting features

Previous and related coverage

What's really the fastest Windows 10 web browser today?

Every company is claiming their latest web browser is the fastest one yet. So, which one really is the fastest? I took them to the test bench -- and here's what I found.

We found 22 cloud services your business definitely needs to try

When it comes to cloud services and software-as-a-service (SaaS), we're all familiar with the usual players. But there's a huge world of opportunity and available resources beyond Google, Dropbox, Salesforce, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Editorial standards