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Tim Berners-Lee: Google, Facebook Might Need To Be Broken Up

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, has warned that technology giants like Facebook and Google are now so dominant that they might need to be broken up.

“What naturally happens is you end up with one company dominating the field, so through history there is no alternative to really coming in and breaking things up,” Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the internet in 1989, said in an interview, according to CNBC. “There is a danger of concentration.”

But he also warned that “before breaking them up, we should see whether they are not just disrupted by a small player beating them out of the market, but by the market shifting, by the interest going somewhere else.”

Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Facebook have a combined market capitalization of $3.7 trillion.

Berners-Lee was also upset about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw the data of 87 million Facebook users illegally shared with the controversial research firm.

That, said Berners-Lee, was a tipping point for many.

In July, it was reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Bureau of Investigation were joining the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission in looking into how and why Cambridge Analytica was able to access data on Facebook users without their consent.

“I am disappointed with the current state of the web,” he said. “We have lost the feeling of individual empowerment, and to a certain extent also I think the optimism has cracked.”

While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has promised that the social media giant will work to protect users’ data, Berners-Lee pointed out that social media is still being used to spread hate.

“If you put a drop of love into Twitter, it seems to decay, but if you put in a drop of hatred, you feel it actually propagates much more strongly. And you wonder: ‘Well, is that because of the way that Twitter as a medium has been built?’”

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