There’s a lot of confusion out there re: dark web vs: deep web — and it’s not going to get any better; I feel that the only way for humanity to move forward on this matter is for both terms to die, or at least diffuse until they are meaningless in much the same way that “cyber” means “network security related” and “cloud” means “other people’s (rented) computers“.
Nonetheless, the question of technical definition still remains, and this is what I hew to:
- deep web: traditionally: that part of the web which is not findable via popular search engines such as Google; this may be because the content is held behind authentication, or because indexing has been requested-disabled via the “robots.txt” mechanism. The former, of course, includes almost the entirety of Facebook, not to mention your personal email accounts, your bank accounts, and so forth. People who like to hype-up the “deep web” generally neglect to point out these mundanities.
- dark web: traditionally: that part of the web which is not accessible without “special software”, although the definition of “special” is apt to change with time because at one point a “Graphical Web Browser” like Mosaic was considered to be “special”, since the web at that point was entirely text-based. Generally the speaker is referring to Tor Onion Networking (formerly “Hidden Services”) when they want to talk about the “dark web”, and when they do so it is invariably to scare the listener with tales of evil dark-web websites such as Facebook, ProPublica, and the New York Times, from all of which one may easily purchase drugs and guns by sending them something called “Bitcoin”.
- deep dark web: accessing your password-protected Facebook account via the Facebook “Onion Site”. Usage: intentionally silly.
- intellectual dark web: the speaker/writer is alluding to a cabal of intellectual whose opinions he/she does not agree with, or hopes that the reader will be fearful of, in order to promote the lectures/clickbait that the speaker/writer is promoting.
This latter is particularly interesting, because it is a recent (2018?) innovation, and hopefully suggests that “deep web” is already on the path towards post-modern meaninglessness.
Any speaker or writer who illustrates either the “deep web” or the “dark web” with a picture of an iceberg, should not be considered credible.