In an interview with The Guardian, Tim Berners-Lee, the man who actually invented the Internet (not Al Gore), specifically cited Apple and Facebook as posing a threat to the Internet freedoms enjoyed over the past 20 years.
Apple caught the brunt of his criticisms, especially regarding its restrictive ecosystem of native apps, as well as exclusivity agreements for its devices. “I should be able to pick which applications I use for managing my life, I should be able to pick which content I look at, and I should be able to pick which device I use, which company I use for supplying my internet, and I’d like those to be independent choices,” he told the British paper.
Berners-Lee instead argued in favor of web apps, which, in comparison, are more open as they are accessible via any browser. “Every time somebody puts a magazine on a phone now and doesn’t put it on to a web app, you know we lose a whole lot of information to the general public discourse—I can’t link to it, so I can’t tweet it, I can’t discuss it, I can’t like it, I can’t hate it,” he said.
While social networks such as Facebook have recently been called out for tracking personal data of users, Berners-Lee also argued that their irresponsibility also stems from not sharing the same information back with users, too.
“One of the issues of social networking silos is that they have the data and I don’t,” he said. “There are no programs that I can run on my computer which allow me to use all the data in each of the social networking systems that I use, plus all the data in my calendar, plus in my running map site, plus the data in my little fitness gadget and so on to really provide an excellent support to me.”
Though for all his pessimism, Berners-Lee also seemed pretty confident that if Apple and Facebook couldn’t improve their user experiences, superior alternatives would arise. “It’s interesting that people throughout the existence of the web have been concerned about monopolies,” he noted. “They were concerned [about] Netscape having complete control over the browser market until suddenly they started worrying that Microsoft had complete control of the browser market. So I think one of the lessons is that things can change very rapidly.”
[via The Guardian]