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Targeted Ads and Misdiagnosed Illnesses, Everything We Have the Internet to Thank for on Its 30th Birthday

The world wide web was conceived as a space to share information for neither power or profit. Thirty years later it's more or less the exact opposite. Still: here's a few things its bestowed upon us we feel truly #blessed about
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March 12 marked the thirtieth year since Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web, the information space which lead to the internet as we know it. It's hard to comprehend that only thirty years in the past there was a world without fake news, clickbait, protein powder adverts on Instagram, and Twitter threads about why Brexit is going to ruin everything (1/354).

Berners-Lee built the internet "for neither profit nor power", a noble goal that's hard to recognize in the democracy-crumbling, data-harvesting, location-tracking minefield we know all spend more time on than we do with our friends or family.

With that in mind, here's a few of the things we have the internet to thank for. (Tim, we're sorry we let you down.)

The dungarees Mr. Porter told you were in but made you look like Groundskeeper Willie when they arrived - yet still follow you around in a pop-up box every time you open a new tab.

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The 'Are you still watching?' message Netflix uses to shame you when you still haven't moved, 14 hours into a True Crime docu-series binge.

The video that sounds like Theresa May is singing Dolly Parton's "Jolene" that your mom keeps putting in the family WhatsApp group ("PMSL!"), and is even more depressing now than when you first heard it a month ago.

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The family WhatsApp group.

Surviving jaundice, Hodgkin lymphoma, SARS, and a host of other exotic diseases after putting searching your symptoms into Google and convincing yourself you have 24 hours to live.

Occasionally Googling your own name to check in on how well you're doing in life only to discover there's a small business owner / cruise line singer / serial killer somewhere in the world who outranks you.

The notifications, the inexhaustible notifications, informing you your ex-girlfriend might be attending an event near you, or your old maths teacher (how get he get on there?) posted a photo for the first time in a while.

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The unease that comes with seeing something so beautiful, it can't possibly be captured on an iPhone - but you waste the moment trying nonetheless.

The anxiety after posting said beautiful moment, as you spend the next 23 hours refreshing to see how many people have looked.

The articles that earnestly tell you the internet is a bad place, then invite you to comment and share on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Like this one!

This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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