Zuckerberg rains on 20th birthday bashByCade Metz
Tim Berners-Lee has dubbed Facebook a threat to the universality of the world wide web.
Next month marks the twentieth anniversary of the first webpage –served up by Berners-Lee at the CERN particle physics lab in Geneva – and in the December issue ofScientific American, he celebrates the uniquely democratic nature of his creation, before warning against the forces that could eventually bring it down. “Several threats to the Web’s universality have arisen recently,” he says.
He briefly warns of cable giants who may prevent the free flow of content across the net. “Cable television companies that sell internet connectivity are considering whether to limit their Internet users to downloading only the company’s mix of entertainment,” he says. And then he sticks the boot into social networking sites, including Mark Zuckerberg’s net behemoth. “Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendster and others typically provide value by capturing information as you enter it: your birthday, your e-mail address, your likes, and links indicating who is friends with whom and who is in which photograph,” Berners-Lee writes.
“The sites assemble these bits of data into brilliant databases and reuse the information to provide value-added service—but only within their sites. Once you enter your data into one of these services, you cannot easily use them on another site. Each site is a silo, walled off from the others. Yes, your site’s pages are on the Web, but your data are not. You can access a Web page about a list of people you have created in one site, but you cannot send that list, or items from it, to another site.”