Here’s how we’ll measure Internet health

The Internet is a wonderful, weird, diverse ecosystem with many different voices, perspectives and motivations interacting daily, and it changes over time. With so many touch points, there are a million different things we could measure to track progress and setbacks toward a healthier Internet, including technical infrastructure, privacy laws, online harassment, disinformation, activism, and education.

But for Mozilla’s Internet Health Report, we can only choose a handful.

Based on your feedback during the discussion process, we have narrowed down the  suggestions to a list of almost 30 topics that offer a rounded overview across our five issues. For now, we know that these are the topics we will return to every year (in addition to timely annual highlights):


  • Intellectual property (copyright, creative commons, others)
  • Censorship/shutdowns/surveillance
  • Open data initiatives
  • Free and open source software
  • Internet governance


Digital inclusion

  • Number of connected people worldwide
  • Bandwidth and speed
  • Affordability of Internet
  • Gender and accessibility
  • Language diversity
  • Safety and harassment



  • Net neutrality laws worldwide (strength and number)
  • Internet infrastructure progress and setbacks
  • New decentralized technologies (eg. blockchain, DAOs, coins, services, applications)
  • Resilience of the Internet
  • Market share of the biggest Internet companies
  • Internet sustainability/environmental impact


Privacy and Security

  • Technical measurements and solutions
  • Data breaches and security vulnerabilities
  • Public opinion and engagement
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Legislation related to privacy


Web Literacy

  • International education standards
  • Web literacy skills related to Internet newcomers
  • Web literacy skills related to technological shifts/content creation vs consumption
  • Web literacy of youth and children
  • Tools and activities for active learning


While arriving at this list, it was critical for us to determine if:

  1. a topic area is worthy of measurement,
  2. it’s actually possible to measure, and
  3. reliable data sources exist.


A number of the issues people feel most strongly about – like disinformation or hate speech – are difficult to measure, even more so across multiple countries and Web platforms. Nonetheless, these issues do impact Internet health, and we’ll need to think creatively about qualitative sources, and how to weave these topics into our focus areas.

An open, collaborative approach

The “open source” part of this initiative invites a broad community to help develop ideas. Many thanks to the more than 800 individuals who have already participated in our discussion process, with suggestions for new indicators and ideas for sources.

We are also exploring organizational collaborations, and how to compile existing research into an annual overview that tells an engaging story about the health of the Internet. We have begun speaking to people and organizations involved in relevant research, including The Web Foundation, ICT Africa, AccessNow, Creative Commons, Ranking Digital Rights, M-Lab and many more, and hope to be working together openly on sharing data in the report.

Over the next weeks we will decide exactly what data already exists to illuminate the the topics listed above, and whether we need original research, too.

As we refine the questions we will be asking as well as the sources we will use, our open call to you is to keep sharing links to relevant research with us, contact us if you would like to be more involved in the process, and stay tuned to this blog for news about next steps.

26 responses to “Here’s how we’ll measure Internet health

  1. You’re losing me on the safety, harassment and hate speech issues. We’ve already seen those issues abused in the extreme by sjw’s, and I fear you’re just gonna jump on their stupidity band wagon. I hope to be proven wrong.

    1. I don’t understand your point. You say it’s abused by “SJW’, it may be true. In fact yes it was abused. But how much and by whom? It’s a minority and it shouldn’t stop people to fight against harassment and hate speech.

      Remember that we have living people behind screen, and you can be hurt by what your read/see etc.

      Don’t fall in the “SJW” blame. It is used a lot by the people who harass or diffuse hate speech. This is a real matter.

  2. Hi
    I just wanted to ask if this this is a report or will it identify and work towards the protection and freedom of the internet as a whole. I am interested in alternative news and fetchers mainly delivered by Mike Adams. The health ranger and we are, But they are interestingly reporting that they are under threat from Google and YouTube. If this is the case and the likes of these people get taken down by these company’s. The internet will just be another control and spyware like our smartphones and smart TV’s and now Smart meters. All believable as the national news.
    Thank you Solana. Being in the costa del sol. Your name fits beautifully. All the best to you and the team. Tony

  3. Friends sometime share post awful photos, video, sometimes I feel embarrassed. I like to share a page myself, but customized options (deleting, editing etc.) should be there and easy to understand all. I have written some stories, posts etc. that can be seen by others if they wishes. It should be easier, wel-multilingual. Thanks

  4. Political correctness is censorship. Political correctness hides its true agenda. Healthy communication allows good and bad and trusts people to decide, a necessity for true democracy. Let us keep Internet neutral.

    1. It’s important, as ever, to distinguish the historical roots of what has become “politically correct” from the latter. The original intent was completely different from the horror established politics have turned it into. Thus, having been a part of those early efforts to create presence in a society that was and still is hell bent on being non-inclusive (i.e. racist, sexist, etc.), I have to agree for a long time now, with George Carlin saying that “Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners”. It has become the domain of those who are really not doing anything to change these root concerns. One doesn’t, for example, do the world any favor by a fellow member of this species, from a basically racist world, “unfriending” another who is conveniently deemed racist. They may behave in such a way, but open racism is far easier to deal with than the grand closet that the politically correct addict possesses. Simply summed up, political correction is used to deflect the very pointing finger they employ on others. Boycott this ….!

  5. I was a bit surprised that gender had a place in the proposed internet health proposal. As I see the intellect not as one view of the whole but as a combined effort of the whole .And are we reaching too deep into the negative individual feelings of a particular health issue as we don’t always know the underlying negative variables associated with the sensatory emotion? Why are we wrapping ourselves around these type of issues?

    1. Gender is really important, because without women online as equals (consuming, creating and innovating) it will only deepen the inequalities that already exist between men and women, and ultimately lead to a Web that is totally inhospitable to women and girls.

      1. As La has said, gender is not important. The Internet is a place for the open exchange of information and ideas. If you find those information and ideas incompatible with your way of thinking whether it is because of assumed “gender bias” or anything else then just ignore it or accept it. Don’t expect that other people’s views will be censored to save you from being offended. This goes completely counter to the sentiment of the Net that has got us to where we are today. The mainstream media picks and chooses what it will broadcast based on their own bias and agendas. We cannot let the ‘net go down that road.

  6. It’s a mixed bag. On one hand you have a dis like of open and sites that permits and promote infidelity and dis honesty and on another front cites and organizations inundated with private networks that allow and permit it’s users to acting meet and quardinate personal interactions between people that lead to infidelity and and dangerous and immoral sexual contact that then expose unwilling and unknowing participants to it’s effects including disease and iligitamant child birth

    1. There is nothing in the word; no law, no edict, no ethical standard, that can keep and idiot from exposing themselves as an idiot………..even on the internet

  7. Pentru o sanatoasa masura a Internetului , am o idee : – Alegeti un anumit numar de Internauti ( din diverse domenii , varste diferite , nivel de pregatire intelectual diferit … etc ) . Cereti-le acordul si studiati-le postarile si vizualizarile lor ( Ex . de pe Facebook ) . Studiati , va rog , aceste lucruri si veti obtine , cu siguranta , o masura sanatoasa a Internetului . Succes ! .

  8. Misinformation on the internet is a real danger. I often hear people repeating falsehoods which they have seen in emails or on the web but have not questioned their correctness. People need to look at what is stated on the web with at least a bit of scepticism. Jack

  9. More regulation & responsibility for big players like FB et al using the ‘we are just a platform’ cop out….treat them like utilities; tax them more on their vast profits; think about an ‘anti-trust’ approach to them to help end their monopolistic practices and open up more opportunity for smaller innovators & developers.

  10. My biggest concern for some time now, is the corruption inherent in search engine use, corporate manipulation and the general narrowing down of the web to suit their purposes, not mine. The web, in that basic regard, is far worse than anything I knew in it’s earliest days.

    1. Thank you for the real issue, I was glancing the post same old thing “bs” everyone personal agenda, which means little with search engines controlling the content that’s offered ie delivered… until that’s addressed nothing else matters or can be addressed, we need a true search engine with no filters or would still be able to use the googles and bings of the world if you chose too, but imagine a real search and what that might open up too the people.

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