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Communications of the ACM

ACM Opinion

The Worldwide Web As We Know It May Be Ending

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cracked worldwide web

Credit: CNN

Over the last year, the worldwide web has started to look less worldwide.

Europe is floating regulation that could impose temporary bans on United States tech companies that violate its laws. The U.S. was on the verge of banning TikTok and WeChat. India is now at loggerheads with Twitter.

If such territorial clashes become more common, the globally-connected Internet we know will become more like what some have dubbed the "splinternet," or a collection of different Internets whose limits are determined by national or regional borders.

A combination of rising nationalism, trade disputes, and concerns about the market dominance of certain global tech companies has prompted threats of regulatory crackdowns all over the world. These forces are not just upending the tech companies that built massive businesses on the promise of a global Internet, but also the very idea of building platforms that can be accessed and used the same way by anyone anywhere in the world.

From CNN
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