The inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners- Lee has issued a warning that technology giants led by Facebook and Google have become so dominant today that it may become necessary to break them up.
Berners-Lee spoke with CNBC about the “danger of concentration.” He elaborated why he is sounding the warning bells on how huge such platforms have become. He said: “What naturally happens is you end up with one company dominating the field, so through history there is no alternative to really coming in and breaking things up.”
The world wide web inventor also gave further context of what the future may hold for the tech giants. Berners-Lee said: “before breaking them up, we should see whether they are not just disrupted by a small player beating them out of the market, but by the market shifting, by the interest going somewhere else.”
The recent Cambridge Analytica scandal which saw the data of 87 million Facebook users illegally shared with the said controversial research firm is also a source of frustration for Berners-Lee. It is something he obviously is upset about. He said the issue could very well serve as the tipping point for many.
Berners-Lee said: “I am disappointed with the current state of the web. We have lost the feeling of individual empowerment, and to a certain extent also I think the optimism has cracked.”
Another sore, if not alarming point for Berners-Lee is how popular social media is still “being used to spread hate.” He said: “If you a drop of love into Twitter, it seems to decay, but if you put in a drop of hatred, you feel it actually propagates much more strongly. And you wonder: “Well, is that because of the way that Twitter as a medium has been built?”
The Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Bureau of Investigation have joined the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission into probing how and why Cambridge Analytica managed to access data on Facebook users without their consent.
The scandal has prompted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to issue a quick promise that Facebook will work to protect their users’ data. Despite the assurance, many critics and technology observers remain doubtful that the social media platform can keep such a vow.
The biggest names online- Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Facebook account for a combined market capitalization of $3.7 trillion.