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

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 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.