World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee speaks during the inauguration of Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. Picture: REUTERS/PEDRO NUNES
World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee speaks during the inauguration of Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. Picture: REUTERS/PEDRO NUNES

1. Couples’ phoney war

A UK YouGov poll finds that a third of people in a relationship have been victim to "screen snubbing" — their partners being too busy on their phones to properly talk to them. The poll was commissioned by a lawyer after a surge in divorce inquiries she received as a result of people spending too much time on their phones. In its report, which includes a test of whether you are a snubber or a snubee, The Guardian helpfully observes that screen snubbing is to a degree understandable. "After all, your partner is just a person and your phone is effectively the sum total of all human knowledge."

2. The army decides

The ultimate test of a "shit hole" country is whether the army intervenes. Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro has just thanked the army for defeating the "coup", as he calls the protests against him. In Algeria, where there have been mass protests against Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term, the ailing president this week withdrew his candidacy for April’s election — now postponed. Judges and clerics had refused to back him. But the clincher was the military in effect siding with calls for Bouteflika to quit. He suffered a stroke in 2013 and can barely speak or walk.

3. Save the web, says TBL

30 years after he created the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee is calling for global action to tackle its "downward plunge to a dysfunctional future". In an open letter he outlines three areas of "dysfunction" harming the web: malicious activity, such as hacking and harassment; problematic system design, such as business models that reward clickbait; and unintended consequences, such as aggressive or polarised discussions. "We need open web champions within government ... who will take action when private sector interests threaten the public good and who will stand up to protect the open web," he writes.