Most people don’t know that the Web we have today is not its original design, but a simplified (or “dumbed down”) version that Tim Berners-Lee created because it was easier to implement than internet pioneer Ted Nelson‘s original 1965 design.
The compromising design Berners-Lee released on the Internet in 1991 made it easier for programmers to implement, but had Nelson’s original design been fully implemented instead, Web browsers would display the context of each quotation, making the Internet more resistant to certain types of “Fake News”.
My article focuses on one part of the Fake News problem — out of context quotations — and gives two high profile examples of how out-of-context quotations mutated into damaging Fake News stories, even before social media was mainstream:
- Al Gore: I invented the Internet (1999), and
- Sarah Palin: I can see Russia from my House (2008).
I conclude by describing 3 ways technologists could work with journalists to develop technology that could prevent this type of story mutation from occurring and build greater trust in media.