From the moment he decided to share the web with the world, Tim Berners-Lee knew his invention could be dangerous.
That became especially obvious when Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal broke — a moment that "devastated" the father of the world wide web, he tells Vanity Fair. People have been Berners-Lee's top priority since he envisioned the web nearly 30 years ago. That's why he released the internet as an open-source platform and never profited off its invention. And he knew it would reshape the world, both for better and worse.
The worse came when Facebook revealed it had improperly shared as many as 87 million users' data with Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm tied to President Trump's campaign. "We demonstrated that the web had failed instead of served humanity," Berners-Lee tells Vanity Fair. But Berners-Lee knew the web was faulty long before that, and he's been examining ways to fix it since the 2016 election.
Repairing the internet means ensuring billionaires like Elon Musk don't have better web access than, say, everyone in Ethiopia, Berners-Lee says. His first step is a platform called Solid, which gives individual users unprecedented power over their data and how it's used. Anyone can log in to help build Solid, but Berners-Lee suggests those without coding skills "go out on the streets" and advocate to change what the internet has become.