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The inventor of the worldwide web, Tim Berners-Lee, has said that internet giants are a “fad” that does not have to continue existing. He also added that urgent change is needed if we are to bridge the digital divide preventing young people from online access.

Berners-Lee invented the navigation system we know as the World Wide Web in 1989.

He said that he felt “restlessness” out there and a need to top things over and change them. Some high-profile cases like the dispute between Facebook and Australia highlight the problem. Facebook blocked news feeds in the country, crippling information sharing between companies, citizens, and the government.

A great awareness

Events like that one lead to a re-examination of the relationship we have with internet giants, social media companies, and the monopolies that act as gatekeepers to the internet.

Berners-Lee said, in the interview with Reuters, that he is optimistic because some dominant fads from before have been changed or removed. He added that people are pushing back against the collection and abuse of personal data.

He also said that there is “great awareness” that the status quo needs to change.

Birthday warning

Berners-Lee believes that we can achieve this by combining government policy and tech. With the two working together, we can help people get back control of their online lives and personal data. At 65, Berners-Lee is working on a project called Solid, where personal data is controlled by users, instead of tech giants.

In a letter to coincide with the 32nd birthday of the World Wide Web, he warned that the growing digital divide could threaten the online opportunities young people should benefit from. 1 in 3 people aged 15-24 worldwide, do not have access to the internet at all.