To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Study says the internet is disappearing before our eyes

Study says the internet is disappearing before our eyes

Over a quarter of webpages from 2013 are now unreachable.

They say once it's out there on the internet, it's there forever, but new research is showing webpages are disappearing - and pretty fast too!

The indexed web is absolutely huge containing 2.25 billion pages alone - and that's not considering the dark web.

However, over the past decade or so, many of these are no longer accessible.

Of the web pages that existed from 2013 to 2023, over a quarter (38%) are now lost and unreachable.

The findings came from a study by PEW Research Center which analysed almost a million web pages at random.

These were gathered by Common Crawl, an internet archive service that takes periodic snapshots of the internet.

Researchers then looked to see whether those pages continued to exist today.

Leonid Korchenko/Getty
Leonid Korchenko/Getty

The study revealed that 25% of all web pages collected between 2013 and 2023 were no longer available: 16% of these came from a website that's still active, while 9% were located on websites that no longer existed.

The same is happening to newer pages on the internet as well.

8% of pages that existed just last year have now gone, for instance.

This was often the case when these pages were deleted or moved by an 'otherwise functional website,' according to the research centre. Therefore, the link and its content are gone but the main website remains.

The problem is that this effect is having a profound effect on the amount of news and important reference content out there. Around 23% of news pages include at least one broken link as well as 21% of government websites.

Furthermore, 54% of Wikipedia pages include at least one link in their references that no longer exists.


And social media isn't safe from this online decay either.

Looking at nearly 5 million posts on X (then Twitter) from March to April 2023, nearly a fifth of tweets were deleted form the platform.

Of these, 60% were due to the original account being made private, suspended or deleted entirely. Whereas, the other 40% was down to the account holder actively deleting individual tweets.

To put it on a timescale, 1% of tweets are removed within an hour, 3% within a day, 10% within a week and 15% within a month.

The study also found that tweets from accounts with the default profile settings are more likely to be removed from public view.

Who knows what the internet's content could look like in the next ten years?

Featured Image Credit: Leonid Korchenko/MangoStar_Studio/Getty