Internet Fragmentation > Accelerated Mobile Pages

What Gets Sacrificed for the Sake of Speed?

Region: Global
Threat type: Creating Walled Gardens
Last updated: 1 December 2023

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) offered faster loading times, but it also created a walled garden.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (or AMP) is a framework for making web pages load faster on mobile devices. It emerged around 2016, and worked by removing all the elements on a page that made it slow to load or use. Many news sites and online publishers quickly adopted it because of the performance benefits, but also because Google required them to use AMP if they wanted to appear in its ‘Top Stories’ carousel.

As the share of traffic on mobile devices grew, many publishers and users seemed to benefit from this advantage of speed. But AMP also meant that, rather than go directly to the publisher’s website, visitors would land on a version of the website served up by a Google cache, on Google servers. It also only worked on certain types of platforms, and anyone who used it needed help from a developer, which meant that not all publishers or businesses could use it.

Allegedly, AMP also ranked non-AMP content lower in search results and made it harder for publishers to use ad technology that wasn’t supplied by Google, benefiting Google and in turn putting publishers at a disadvantage.

The concern was not so much about AMP itself, but was more about how it was used by Google. As the most used search engine provider, its decisions have a powerful effect on the web. And this was a move toward centralizing and controlling how content was published and advertised.


In 2021, Google stopped requiring AMP to appear in its ‘Top Stories’ carousel. Other browsers also implemented features to bypass AMP pages. Further developments in mobile and web technologies have enabled faster mobile content loading, so the purpose of the framework is no longer relevant. AMP has almost disappeared from use, and, as of late 2023, made up fewer than 0.2% of websites. The primary reason to know about AMP is to develop an awareness of ways that walled gardens can be created online.

Our Position

Walled gardens lead to monopolistic practices, hindering fair competition and limiting the potential for smaller, innovative companies to thrive. As a result, users may find themselves with limited options, facing higher prices, and experience a lack of privacy and control over their digital experiences. This leads to a fragmented experience of the Internet for people.

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Talking Points

  • The open, global Internet offers virtually infinite opportunities to everyone. Creating ‘walled gardens’ on the Internet reduces the global nature of the Internet and the diversity of content users can access. So, even when there is a short-term benefit in a certain context, they fragment the user experience.
  • It might seem like these faster loading times are a net benefit for everyone, but AMP made it hard for users to know if they were on the publisher or business website.
  • AMP required users to use specific tools and resources that many publishers and businesses don’t have, making it difficult to compete for attention online with those who could implement it.