Web creator's mission to rid internet of fake news

Personal data, misinformation (or as it's now been dubbed, fake news) and online political advertising: these are the three major problems of the modern internet that keep the inventor of the World Wide Web up at night.

It's too easy for misinformation to spread on the web.

"Through collaboration with - or coercion of - companies, governments are also increasingly watching our every move online and passing extreme laws that trample on our rights to privacy", Berners-Lee wrote.

Trading personal data for access, he argues, is "missing a trick". The constant monitoring "creates a chilling effect on free speech" and stops the web from being all that the open platform should be.

As many people find news and information on the internet through a handful of social media sites and search engines that are often financially compensated for "clicks", Berners-Lee explained that consumers are often shown particular "news" items based on algorithms which learn from personal data that is constantly harvested.

However, his hopes have been shaken by high-profile hacks and the dissemination of fake news through robots and data science, reported USA Today.

The web's creator wants to see more transparency in those terms and conditions we're always clicking through, as well as greater freedom from government monitoring, another effect of giving websites and app makers permission to gobble up our data.

He said that the issue of transparency in political advertising online was another trend on the web which was rapidly becoming a sophisticated industry.

He also expressed his concern about governments monitoring citizens internet usage, and alluded to WikiLeaks" disclosure of Central Intelligence Agency surveillance documents, saying that he thinks "watching everyone, all the time is simply going too far'.

"The net result is that these sites show us content they think we will click on".

And on "fake news" Berners-Lee lamented the algorithms used by the likes of Google and Facebook which only show people the content they think people will click on, "meaning that misinformation, or "fake news", which is surprising, shocking, or created to appeal to our biases can spread like wildfire".

Sir Tim said that fake news, data sharing and political campaigning must be wiped out for...

Questioning the democracy of targeted campaigns, Berners-Lee highlighted that during the 2016 United States election, as many as 50,000 variations of adverts were being served every single day on Facebook.

The computer scientist who developed the blueprint for what would become the internet, issued a warning at the state of the web following the global events of the past year.

"People must fight against government over-reach in surveillance laws, including through the courts, if necessary".

Berners-Lee also calls for more "transparency and understanding" when it comes to political advertising online, saying that the way parties can carefully target individual users with different adverts goes against the principles of democracy and is "a near-impossible situation to monitor".

According to him, people must push back against misinformation by encouraging gatekeepers such as Google and Facebook to continue their efforts to combat the problem.

"The bottom line is: We take misinformation seriously", Zuckerberg said.

  • Leroy Wright