Turning Point: By 2019, 50 percent of the global population will be online.In recent years, it has become clear that the web is not living up to the high hopes we had for it. Built as an open tool for collaboration and empowerment, the web has been hijacked by crooks and trolls who have used it to manipulate people all over the world.To preserve a web that serves all of humanity, not just the privileged and the powerful, we will have to fight for it. That’s why I’m asking governments, companies and citizens across the globe to commit to a set of core principles for the web.By the end of 2019, 50 percent of the world’s population will be using the internet, according to a recent report from the United Nations-affiliated Broadband Commission for Digital Development. At any other time in the web’s 30-year history, the collective response to this tipping point would likely have been: “Great! Now let’s get everyone else connected as quickly as possible.” But the world has changed. After years of the web being seen as a potential net force for good, such technological optimism has been eclipsed by fears that the web might be damaging our societies.These worries are justified. In recent years, we’ve seen governments engage in state-sponsored trolling to quash dissent and attack opposition. We’ve seen hacking and foreign interference distort politics and undermine elections. And we’ve seen how the spread of fake news on social media can trigger chaos, confusion and lethal violence.When we learned last year that Cambridge Analytica had used the personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users to influence voters in the 2016 American presidential election, we woke up to the fact that we had lost control of our data — and that the consequences could change the world.But we must not give up on the promise of the web. All technologies come with risks. We drive cars despite the possibility of serious accidents. We take prescription drugs despite the danger of abuse and addiction. We build safeguards into new innovations so we can manage the risks while benefiting from the opportunities.The web is a global platform — its challenges stretch across borders and cultures. Just as the web was built by millions of people collaborating around the world, its future relies on our collective ability to make it a better tool for everyone.As we forge the web of tomorrow, we need a set of guiding principles that can define the kind of web we want. Identifying these will not be easy — any agreement that covers a diverse group of countries, cultures and interests will never be. But I believe it’s possible to develop a set of basic ideals that we can all agree on, and that will make the web work better for everyone, including the 50 percent of the world’s population that has yet to come online.Governments, companies and individuals all have unique roles to play. The World Wide Web Foundation, an organization I founded in 2009 to protect the web as a public good, has drawn up a set of core principles outlining the responsibilities that each party has to protect a web that serves all of humanity. We’re asking everyone to sign on to these principles and join us as we create a formal Contract for the Web in 2019.The principles specify that governments are responsible for connecting their citizens to an open web that respects their rights. They say that internet companies must play their part in making sure the web is safe, accessible and protects user data. They make it clear that individual citizens have a responsibility to act with compassion and challenge negative behavior they wouldn’t tolerate offline. Most importantly, the principles say that we have to stand up and fight for a web that serves everyone. If we, the billions of people using the web, don’t defend it, who will?Based on these fundamental principles, the Contract for the Web will establish a new set of norms to guide the digital policy agendas of governments and the decisions of companies as they build tomorrow’s web technologies. Those who support and help develop the contract will not only show their commitment to the future of the web; they will help shape it. If we want a web that works for us, we must work for the web’s future.Tim Berners-LeeCreditHenry ThomasTen years ago, when Rosemary Leith and I started the World Wide Web Foundation, fewer than one in four people were online. Our task was to get more people connected and to keep the web open and free so that everyone could benefit from all it had to offer. The web saves lives and creates livelihoods. It puts the world’s information at our fingertips and connects us with friends and family across the globe. It powers social movements and has created countless new industries, fueling widespread innovation.As a comparatively young invention, this is just the beginning of what the web has to offer. Imagine what we will be able to accomplish once the next huge tranche of the world’s population is online and contributing to the web’s explosive creativity.The good news is, the appetite to take on the web’s challenges has never been greater. Let’s make sure the next billion people connect to a web worth having. Let’s make 2019 the year we push back against the forces subverting the open spirit of the web. We need a free and open web for everyone.