Internaut Day is the celebration of the internet and the creator of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee. Internaut is a portmanteau of the words internet and astronaut and refers to a master of the internet.

The internet refers to an interconnected network of computers. The world wide web is the interface on which one can navigate the internet.

Berners-Lee, 62, was a computer scientist and engineer working at CERN, the European Council for Nuclear Research, when he devised the world wide web as a user-friendly information management system. Berners-Lee first submitted a proposal for elements of the web to his boss at CERN in March, 1989. His boss’s response was, “vague, but interesting,” according to CERN. The World Wide Web Foundation, who’s founding director was Berners-Lee, celebrates March 12, the day Berners-Lee handed in the proposal as the birthday of the web.

By 1990 Berners-Lee had many of the main components of the internet down, including HTML language and HTTP protocol, and by the end of the year had created the first website (http://info.cern.ch/) built for CERN. In Aug. 1991 Berners-Lee started to publish summaries of his work in different forums, thus debuting the internet, according to Fortune Magazine.

In April 1993, CERN announced “WWW technology would be freely usable by anyone, with no fees being payable to CERN,” according to the Web Foundation. A founding principle of the web for Berners-Lee was that it be free and accessible to everyone.

Why Aug. 23 is celebrated as Internaut Day is a bit of an unknown.

The Web Foundation released a statement on the matter last year during the 25th celebration of Internet Day. They answered the question of why Aug. 23 with: “We think the Web should be celebrated every day!” Aug. 23 is cited as the people could first access the internet, but that seems to be an uncorroborated myth.

According to Wired last year, the day appears to have been made up and used as a trending piece of content by websites like Facebook and Twitter. Last year Berners-Lee even took to Twitter to ask who made up the day. 

Either way, there are over 1 billion websites on the internet, and people continue to celebrate the day, regardless of its veracity. 

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