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US billionaire Frank McCourt eyes TikTok purchase

US billionaire Frank McCourt eyes TikTok purchase

TikTok Purchase

Frank McCourt, a US real estate billionaire, has expressed his interest in acquiring the popular social media platform TikTok. McCourt believes that major tech platforms are harming society and posing risks to children. McCourt shared his concerns about the current state of the internet during an interview at the Collision 2024 tech conference.

He criticized the algorithms used by big tech companies, claiming they exacerbate societal tensions and polarization. McCourt cited examples like political upheaval in France as evidence of the divisive impact of these platforms. He believes they manipulate users and keep them in constant agitation, which he views as detrimental to societal well-being.

The billionaire’s motivation partly stems from personal concerns for his own children. He believes they are at risk from the predatory nature of the internet. McCourt mentioned issues such as increased anxiety, depression, and even suicides among young people, attributing these problems to the influence of social media platforms.

To combat these issues, McCourt advocates for a “new internet” that decentralizes control and gives users ownership over their data.

Frank McCourt’s digital ambitions

He envisions an open-source protocol in which individuals have more autonomy, regardless of which social media platform they use.

Buying TikTok would significantly bolster McCourt’s ambitious initiative, known as Project Liberty, which aims to overhaul the current digital landscape. The project has garnered support from influential figures like internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee and NYU professor Jonathan Haidt. However, the road ahead for McCourt and other potential buyers is fraught with challenges.

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is contesting the US government’s divestiture order in court. The Chinese government has also expressed resistance to the forced sale of TikTok, viewing it as an infringement on its tech sovereignty. Despite these hurdles, McCourt remains steadfast in his belief that TikTok’s scrutiny serves as a wake-up call regarding data privacy and security issues inherent in digital platforms.

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He asserts that tech giants‘ handling of user data, regardless of geographic location, raises democratic concerns and underscores the need for a more transparent and accountable internet ecosystem. McCourt, known in the United States as the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, currently owns the French football club Olympique de Marseille, which counts French President Emmanuel Macron among its fans. This proposed acquisition highlights McCourt’s ongoing commitment to creating a more ethical digital landscape, free from the negative impacts he associates with existing major platforms.

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