May 21, 2024 - Business

Digital decay

A bar chart showing the share of web pages created in the last 10 years that were inaccessible as of October 2023. Among web pages created in 2013, 38% were inaccessible. For web pages created in 2023, 8% were inaccessible.
Data: Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios visuals

There are hundreds of billions of indexed web pages online, but many won't survive very long.

By the numbers: More than one-third (38%) of webpages that existed in 2013 are no longer available today, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

  • Around 8% of web pages that existed in 2023 are no longer available today.

Why it matters: The data shows just how fleeting content is on the internet.

  • Evidence of "digital decay," or disappearing and nonfunctioning sites, persists across the web — from links on government pages to news websites and Wikipedia, Pew found.
  • Nearly one-quarter (23%) of news webpages contain at least one broken link, as do 21% of webpages from government sites.
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