• Julian McDougallEmail author


It’s the internet’s thirtieth birthday, which coincides with a deluge of revelations about how out of control it is. Tim Berners-Lee, its creator, is not in a celebratory mood, instead reflecting on the dysfunctional adoption of his invention and calling for us to change direction before it is too late. How did we get here? Can we agree, yet, on the history of the internet? Actually, the internet has been around for longer, so what we are really talking about is our use of it in the form of the web. This revolution in human existence, like all the others before it, is about connection. The web enables every ‘bit’ to interact with every other in digital form. And what we’re also talking about here is the subsequent use of the web by people with the capacity to organize it on our behalf, imposing order on infinite freedom—in other words, Google. Next, we’re talking about the rapid race to make money out of the web—its economic model, in the form of advertising in return for ‘free’ use, and then the use of our data. And what makes all this possible is the way that the web encourages and rewards very quick interaction—the new ‘attention economy’—at the expense of more measured consideration—and these would be the conditions for ‘fake news’.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Excellence in Media PracticeBournemouth UniversityPooleUK

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