The big, bad world of the web is getting worse

The availability of controversial and adult content on the internet including pro-anorexia and bulimia, racism, violence and child pornography websites has significantly increased since the end of 2006, a new report has revealed.

The internet trends report by Optenet tracked a random sampling of nearly three million URLs from around the world during the last two years, and found pages associated with violent content increased 125 per cent.

Other potentially worrying areas of content growth included websites promoting racism, which increased by 70 per cent and pro-drug websites, which grew by 62 per cent. Pro-anorexia and bulimia websites increased by a massive 470 per cent, while content related to child pornography also rose by 18 per cent.

And, although pornography as a total percentage of internet content has actually decreased slightly since 2006, it still constitutes by far the largest category of content, representing 35 per cent of all websites.

Online shopping represented the second biggest category with a 10.5 per cent share (up 16 per cent on 2006 figures), followed by travel with seven per cent, advertising sites with six per cent and sports with 4.5 percent.

The report said: "The growth of the internet is unstoppable." It found that the number of websites worldwide surpassed 155 million at the end of 2007 due to, in large part, the appearance of blogs and personal web pages.

The number of personal web pages jumped by more than 455 per cent since 2006, according to the report. And websites featuring anonymisers (219.45 per cent), hackers (87.79 per cent) and malicious code (69.87 per cent) also experienced high growth.

Optenet compiled its report using its proprietary traffic analysis and classification engine, which combines artificial intelligence with traditional content filtering technology to categorise web content.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.