Sir Tim Berners-Lee now stakes the fear

Finally after years of bringing my court case, which was largely about manipulation of reader’s moods towards radicalism, Sir Tim acknowledges that the web can be manipulated in a bad way and that new laws are needed.

I argued long and hard that the current libel laws, which require a reader of a story to read the whole article to make up the mind is out-dated as people do not have the time to read and thoroughly analyse stories they read online. There are too many stories and people do not have enough time.

People read headlines and make up their mind. This also played a big role in the Brexit. People were given slogans and by the sound of it, decided. It was only after the referendum that explanatory articles were put up on the web to show people what it all means.

Nobody spends hours, days, weeks looking up statistics, reading up history to consider one story they read to find out how true it is.

A large part of my court case centred around factual truth on reports and it was thrown out because of freedom of expression.

In hind-sight. I was a LEA appointed school governor in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. I was put into a small school with a large number of Asian pupils.

Then some Labour members put up stories that I was once suspected to be a member of the RAF, Red Army Faction, showing machine guns in their logo. Those were the German terrorists of the 70s. The fact that I was acquitted and given compensation was a small remark at the end of the story, whilst the blazing terrorist part was the headline.

I then stepped down from my post of school governor to avoid those, who tended to think radical to see me as an ambassador of radicalism in Tower Hamlets.

At the time, the situation was much worst than it was today. It was when hate preaching was still around on the streets, it was when the Iraq war was in full swing and it was when al-Qaeda was in action and it was still before Daesh was established and young kids were encouraged to leave Britain to go to join them.

I did see this coming and felt that radicalization was a mood that was very dangerous at the time and it led to many bad things happening. I tried to avoid it catching on in Tower Hamlets by leaving my public post and by making declarations in court to make it clear that people abused the past to further radicalism.

It all fell on deaf ears. But now it seems that people finally see how the readers can be manipulated, that new laws are needed to bring more facts to the fiction and to avoid false news.

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