Tim Berners-Lee calls Facebook "a threat to the web"

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Facebook may be the Number 1 online destination for many citizens of the web, but there is one key figure who’s still more than a little sceptical: web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

Rather than an open world wide web, Berners-Lee has criticised Facebook’s harvesting of personal information, which is then in turn used to keep you locked into the social network rather than sharing and creating unique content elsewhere.

“The more you enter, the more you become locked in”, said Berners-Lee. “Your social networking site becomes a closed silo of content – and does not give you full control over your information”.

Berners-Lee seems to fear a return to the use of centralised portal sites, of which the likes of Yahoo and MSN were once dominant. “The more this kind of architecture gains widespread use, the more the web becomes fragmented – and the less we enjoy a single, universal information space […] A related danger is that one site gets so big, it becomes a monopoly, which limits innovation.”

With over 500 million users, Facebook is certainly starting to look much like a monopolisation of social networking. But it’s not just Zuckerberg’s empire that the knight of the web fears, but Steve Jobs’ Apple too. It too is becoming increasingly closed and centralised, made all the more worrying by people’s reliance on the company’s mobile devices.

“You can access an iTunes link only using Apple’s patented iTunes programme” said Berners-Lee. “You are no longer on the web, The iTunes world is centralised, walled off. You are trapped in a single store, rather than being on the open marketplace.”

(Update: This post initially stated that Facebook had reached 500,000 million users. Nope, Zuckerberg hasn’t taken over the entire universe, just a typo slip up. What larks. Fixed now. Sorry! Gerald – Editor.)

Via: The Metro

Gerald Lynch