words Alexa Wang
Without the internet, we wouldn’t be where we are today in the digital era – that’s a fact. We rely so heavily on the internet as a source of knowledge (even if that knowledge isn’t always accurate), fun, creativity, and a platform to grow a business – especially with the rise of the ever-handy free website builder. As one June 2021, there were 1.86 billion websites on the internet. Granted, not all of those are active, but that’s still 1.86 billion websites that make up the internet. It makes you wonder, is the internet out of control? Let’s explore.
In Many Respects, No It Isn’t
The internet is a mix of the weird and wonderful, and everything in between. There isn’t much you can’t do or find on the internet – and that isn’t always a bad thing. The influx in websites stems from people’s abilities to make them without the help of a developer. There once was a time when most people would have to ask a web developer to design their website for them, but free website builders have allowed the average Joe to create impeccable websites with flawless designs that mirror that of a web developer.
That means there are now more blogs, small business websites, portfolios, and education websites than ever before. That isn’t a bad thing. It’s this side of the internet that isn’t out of control. In fact, people are more in control than ever before. Although there are over a billion domains on the internet, only 200 million of them are active. That’s still a huge figure, but that leads to the control we have over website ranking. Thanks to the likes of SEO and PPC, we have control over how far down the search engine pages results a website appears.
In Others, It is
What is out of control is how people use their domains. There are so many ‘dead domains’ – referring to domain names in use but not actually used. Some people are desperate for a domain name and can see it’s in use, but the website is inactive – it can be so frustrating.
Some high-profile cases have proven that domain names are incredibly valuable, yet so hard to control. Famously, a man brought Google.com once the domain had expired, and Google had to pay $12,000 to get it back – he was absolutely within his right to do this and ended up pocketing a large sum of money.
There’s also the media and news side of things that are by far the most out of control side of the internet. Fake news is a huge issue and can spread fear, controversy, and false information like wildfire. One prime example is what recently happened in the UK.
One or two online news outlets posted about a fuel shortage, prompting everyone to rush to fill up their cars with as much as possible, thus leading to a nationwide lack of fuel that saw petrol stations close. One woman was even pictured filling up shopping bags with petrol. That’s how out of control the internet can be.
Another area that’s somewhat out of control is bank account fraud – thanks to the online services we use. Most people shop online, and when they do, there is an option to save card details at the checkout. Many people choose to store their card details so that it’s easier next time, but this has created a stockpile of personal banking information ready to steal. Sadly, thousands of people have their details stolen; and their banks ransacked. Although banks do refund this money in most cases, it’s still a stressful situation.
There’s plenty of other sinister ways the internet is out of control, but the question is, can we really police it?
Can We Really Police The Internet?
In many respects, yes, the internet has made huge strides towards policing unwanted activity. One example of this is copyright infringements against links showing films and tv shows, for example. There once was a time when free movie sites were a huge thing. Now, if you try and search ‘watch this film free online’, you’ll be hit with notifications that links have been removed because they’re infringing on copyright laws.
And, there have been huge strides towards combating online bullying – something that has become somewhat of a pandemic. The incident of Caroline Flack is an example of what online bullying can result in. However, social media platforms, in particular, have made huge strides towards combating it. Specialist teams and algorithms crawl the social media platforms to remove unwanted comments and content.
The internet has given rise to both positive and negative elements, but we’d say the positives outweigh the negatives. Without the internet, we wouldn’t have access to the information, entertainment, and space to build the brands we do today. The controversy stems from how individuals choose to use the internet.