Hi Richard - when I wrote " a significant portion of the world’s knowledge is online and accessible to just about anyone with a web browser and internet connection", I was specifically thinking of two things - Google (a company that wants to scan just about every document/book/paper and host every video) and Internet Archive (a company with a mission statement of "offering free universal access to books, movies & music, as well as 353 billion archived web pages")
That said, I concur with your point that just because data and information are there, it doesn't necessary make them trustworthy. I suppose then, that's the value of Google's search algo, to sort through the clutter, and "Pagerank" based on attributes, one of which is link structure. The supposition then, is that the more links to a site or article, the more "trustworthy" and relevant it is (i.e. academic research, "vetted" articles etc.)
But I hear you loud and clear, there's too much clutter and as you said lots of it is "solicitious" rubbish.
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!