Study reveals the “disappearing internet”

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In a surprising revelation, new research by the Pew Research Center indicates that the internet may not be as permanent as once thought. According to the study, nearly 40% of webpages that existed in 2013 are no longer accessible, highlighting the transient nature of online content. This rate of disappearance also affects newer webpages, with 8% of those from 2023 already gone.

The study analyzed close to a million webpages from a variety of sources including news, government, and reference sites. It found that even active websites are losing pages, often due to deletion or relocation of the content, rather than the complete disappearance of the websites themselves.

The impermanence of the web extends to social media, with one-fifth of tweets vanishing within months of posting. Reference materials are particularly vulnerable; over half of Wikipedia articles contain at least one dead link in their references.

The findings underscore the challenges of maintaining digital information over time and the potential loss of valuable knowledge and history. The full report titled “When Online Content Disappears” is available on the Pew Research Center’s website.


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