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Big tech must be regulated, says inventor of world wide web

From Reuters - March 12, 2018

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The inventor of the worldwide web, Tim Berners-Lee, called on Monday for powerful internet platforms and social media companies to be regulated to prevent the internet from being weaponized at scale.

The British computer scientist, in an open letter published on the 29th anniversary of the creation of the web, said a new set of gatekeepers was now dominant, controlling the spread of ideas and opinions.

The fact that power is concentrated among so few companies has made it possible to weaponize the web at scale, he wrote.

"In recent years, we have seen conspiracy theories trend on social media platforms, fake Twitter and Facebook accounts stoke social tensions, external actors interfere in elections and criminals steal troves of personal data." (bit.ly/2FDx8XO)

The intervention by the 62-year-old MIT professor comes as some European governments turn to legislation to curb fake news and hate speech that they fear is undermining the basis of their democracies.

In Germany, a law entered force on Jan. 1 that foresees fines of up to 50 million euros ($62 million) on internet platforms that fail to remove hate speech - which is illegal - within 24 hours.

French President Emmanuel Macron meanwhile plans legislation that would empower judges to order the removal of fake news during election campaigns.

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