1. initially

means 'at first - in the beginning'. 

2. neutral.

In this case it meant 'not controlling' or 'not taking any action to control'.

3. anonymity

the state of having a hidden identity or personality.

4. ameliorate

to ameliorate a situation is to make it better.

5. tweak

to tweak something is to make a small change to the way something works.

6. kudos

Kudos is praise and appreciation for something you've done.

7. reveal

to make sth known to sb

8. take sth. for granted

take to be the case or to be true; accept without verification or proof

9. concerns

a feeling of worry, especially one that is shared by many people

10. bring out


11. give access to


12. address

to think about a problem or a situation and decide how you are going to deal with it

13. driven by

motivated by…


Do you think the internet has generally been positive or negative for the world?

These days we take the internet for granted

We share our lives on social media and not just with friends and family. 

And that isn't always a positive thing according to the father of the internet, Tim Berners-Lee. 

In a recent BBC Tech Tent programme he talked about his concerns with the internet and particularly the companies that control its information

Companies which he calls 'internet giants'. What does he say he thought these companies had to do?

Initially I felt the main thing that internet giant had to do was just to be neutral, just be a platform.

And humanity, once connected by technology, will do wonderful things. 

And clearly it doesn't work like that. (转机)

If you connect humanity via Wikipedia then they do produce, in general, wonderful things. 

If you connect people by social network where they have anonymity, then it can bring out the very nastiest of people.





So what did he say he thought these internet giants had to do?

He said that he thought initially, that they just had to be neutral. Initially means 'at first', 'in the beginning'. And it also suggests that later he changed his mind. 

Anyway, he said that he thought they just had to be neutral. Neutral here means that they didn't need to do anything, they didn't need to control the internet or information. 

He thought it would be a tool to connect people and ideas and information and it would be wonderful.

But it's not all good, is it?

No. He does say that giving people access to sources of information is generally a good thing. But that when it comes to social networks, social media, people have anonymity.


Yes. It means that on the internet people can hide their true identity or personality

Some people write things that they would never say to someone in person, because they think there will be no consequences

Berners-Lee says anonymity can bring out the nastiest side of people, people saying horrible and terrible things to each other.

Berners-Lee does have some suggestions for how this could be changed. And it's based on the idea of likes and shares, which he calls kudos. What's his suggestion?


The different social networks and different platforms are in different situations and in some cases they have acknowledged there is an issue. 

I think they realize that the issue could be hugely ameliorated by tweaking the way the thing works, by changing the way retweets so propagated or changing the way people get kudos. Give them more kudos for being constructive for example.

So how does he think companies could address the problem?


Well, he says that some of the social networks have agreed that there is a problem and they know what could improve it.

He didn't use the word improve though, did he?

No, he actually used the rather formal verb - ameliorate, which means 'to improve or make something better'.

So how does he suggest the problem could be ameliorated?

By tweaking the way in which people give or receive kudos. Tweaking means 'making a small change to the way something works'. 

Much of what happens on the internet is driven by our desire to get likes and shares. This is the kudos that Berners-Lee talks about. 

He feels that tweaking this could lead to a better experience. For example, getting more kudos for constructive or positive actions.

Mmm, interesting. But I wonder who would decide if something is constructive?