The internet should not be used as a scapegoat for society’s ills, said Vint Cerf, Google’s net evangelist and a founding father of the network.
Speaking on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he rejected calls for strict control of what is put online.
He said the net was just a reflection of the society in which we live.
Anyone regulating beyond what was clearly illegal put themselves on a "slippery slope" that could limit freedom of expression, he said.
"If it’s not illegal, it raises a rather interesting question about where you do draw the line," he said.
Mr Cerf’s comments come after the UK’s Conservative Party floated ideas to curb the access young people have to sites such as YouTube which let them see videos showing extreme or callous violence.
Rather than impose controls centrally, said Mr Cerf, it was far better to put them at the edges of the network where users go online.