Berners-Lee Says Enforced Random Social Media Friends Might Make us Behave

By Gary Cutlack on at

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who spends most of his time looking at a computer through gaps in his hands while sobbing "WHY?" to the advertising bots that monitor his webcam, has had a small idea that could make the social media world marginally less corrosive to the souls of its human customers. He says we should be encouraged to befriend strangers, as then we might behave a bit better.

This would break everyone out of the safe-space bubbles created by curating school and work friends into a tight group of buddies, encouraging the making of new friends – something the internet is very bad at – by asking social networks to suggest a chat with people similar to our existing friends but from the other side of the world. Proving that we're all a bit the same, so less of the acerbic, not-really-ironic, racism.

Berners-Lee explained: "You say, 'here's somebody who is just like you in almost every respect, except they live in Iran. They are male, they are a computer scientist, they speak English – or they could be a computer scientist, and they live in America, but they're female'," which would, he thinks, actually teach people that it's maybe OK to be friends with people outside of your little university/work clique.

And before you know it we'd be in a Star Trek future where race doesn't matter and it's OK if that woman you've been relentlessly sex-messaging is green, and Berners-Lee might be able to get to sleep a little earlier. [Telegraph]