Tim Berners-Lee tells Facebook it’s wrong about Internaut Day

24 Aug 2016

Tim Berners-Lee – the person credited with being the father of the World Wide Web – has taken to Twitter to tell Facebook to ‘#getitright’ after it claimed 23 August was the 25th birthday of the internet.

Facebook users across the world were yesterday (23 August) greeted on their News Feed with the announcement that it was the 25th anniversary of the birth of the web, which it dubbed Internaut Day.

According to the welcoming message, Facebook said that, on 23 August, “The web opened up to the world 25 years ago today! We thank Sir Tim Berners-Lee and other internet pioneers for making the world more open and connected.”

One slight problem with this is that Berners-Lee himself has already said on record that the real birth year of the World Wide Web (WWW) was in 1989, when he delivered its proposal to CERN, the major scientific research organisation.

In a previous Wired article, Berners-Lee even said that 2014 was the 25th anniversary of the birth of the web, and now he has taken to Twitter to share his bemusement with Facebook’s decision.

How did Facebook get the date wrong?

According to The Guardian, Facebook was referring to the date when the World Wide Web first opened up to the world, having spent the previous two years locked away in a number of researchers’ labs.

However, the only problem with this connection is that archived records of the first messages and proposal of the World Wide Web occurred on 6 August 1991, not 23 August.

In his first message to the world, Berners-Lee wrote: “The WWW project was started to allow high-energy physicists to share data, news, and documentation. We are very interested in spreading the web to other areas, and having gateway servers for other data. Collaborators welcome!”

Meanwhile, the World Wide Web Foundation responded to Internaut Day rather diplomatically by saying: “We think the web should be celebrated every day!”

Tim Berners-Lee image via drserg/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic