Tim Berners-Lee on how to fix the internet:
Today, most people find news and information on the web through just a handful of social media sites and search engines. These sites make more money when we click on the links they show us. And they choose what to show us based on algorithms that learn from our personal data that they are constantly harvesting. The net result is that these sites show us content they think weâ€™ll click on â€“ meaning that misinformation, or fake news, which is surprising, shocking, or designed to appeal to our biases, can spread like wildfire. And through the use of data science and armies of bots, those with bad intentions can game the system to spread misinformation for financial or political gain.
The internet was originally designed to be decentralized so that if in wartime a city was taken out, the internet could simply route around the damage and keep communications working. The web was theorized as similarly decentralized, with many different sites offering content and users choosing from among those.
However, thanks to the consumer mentality, the internet is now centralized in the hands of a few successful but dying companies, making them arbiters of what is seen and heard, and therefore enforcers of a type of censorship of viewpoints that these companies perceive will offend some of their desired userbase.
As Berners-Lee points out, the solution is to “redecentralize” or stop our reliance on a few big sites and search engines, and instead to have many more variants such that the audience can find its own content without going through mediators, who have the exact same problem that big media does, which is a tendency to cater to the audience that uses them most, over normal people.