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Facebook is threat to web, warns Tim Berners-Lee

Jenny Williams

Net neutrality is a basic value of the internet according to web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, accusing Facebook and Apple of threatening the web's future development.

Writing in an essay for Scientific American, Berners-Lee named Facebook, LinkedIn and Friendster, among others, as sites that threaten web innovation by "walling off information posted by their users from the rest of the web".

"The web as we know it, however, is being threatened in different ways. Some of its most successful inhabitants have begun to chip away as its principles," wrote Berners-Lee.

The Apple system of beginning URL addresses with "itunes" instead of "http" was also cited as an example of a "closed world", which goes against open standards.

"These closed, 'walled gardens', no matter how pleasing, can never compete in diversity, richness and innovation with the mad, throbbing web market outside their gates. If a walled garden has too tight a hold on a market, however, it can delay that outside growth," said Berners-Lee.

He added that a danger exists whereby one social networking site, search engine or browser could create a monopoly over the web, further limiting innovation.

Berners-Lee again re-iterated his support for net neutrality legislation, saying it is a basic value of the web.


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