Over the previous year, the world wide web has begun to look less worldwide.
Europe is floating regulation that could force temporary bans on US technology companies that violate its laws. The United States of America was on the brink of banning Chinese apps like WeChat and TikTok, though the new Biden government is reevaluating that move. India, the country that did ban those two apps and several others, is now quarrelsome with Twitter.
And this month, Facebook (FB) fought with the Australian administration over a presented law that would require it to pay the publishers. The firm briefly decided to protect users from forwarding news links in the nation in response to the law, with the power to dramatically change how its policy functions from one country to another. Then on Tuesday, it agreed to a deal with the government and accepted to restore news pages. The deal temporarily relaxed the negotiation requirements that Facebook took issue with.
In its declaration of the deal, however, Facebook pointed at the possibility of similar fights in the future. “We’ll carry on to invest in the news internationally and resist attempts by media corporations to advance regulatory frameworks that do not calculate the true value exchange between platforms like Instagram and the publishers,” the VP of international news partnerships at Facebook, Campbell Brown, said in a statement.
But suppose such territorial disputes become more frequent. In that case, the globally-connected internet we know will become more like what some people call “splinternet,” or a group of different internets whose reach would be determined by regional or national borders.