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Shoeleather Journalism in the Digital Age

Shoeleather Journalism
in the Digital Age

Billionaire Frank McCourt’s Project Liberty forms consortium to bid for TikTok’s US operations

photo of Frank McCourt
Frank McCourt, former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, attends a news conference at Marseille city hall to announce he had entered exclusive negotiations to buy Olympique de Marseille, France, August 29, 2016. (REUTERS/Philippe Laurenson/File Photo)
Staff Reports | REUTERS

A law signed by President Joe Biden on April 24 gives the social media platform’s owner, ByteDance, until Jan. 19 next year to sell TikTok or face a ban.

The bill was passed by U.S. lawmakers on account of worries that China could access Americans’ data or surveil them through the app.

The White House had said it wants to see Chinese-based ownership ended on national security grounds but not a ban on TikTok.

Project Liberty, working with Guggenheim Securities, law firm Kirkland & Ellis, technologies, academics and others, proposed to migrate the platform to a digital open-source protocol.

Inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and David Clark, senior research scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, are among the supporters of the bid, the organization said.

Project Liberty had launched the open-source Decentralized Social Networking Protocol in 2021, establishing a shared social graph that is not dependent on a specific application or a centralized platform.

The organization encompasses work of the Project Liberty Institute, with an international partner network that includes academic institutions and a for-profit arm that includes a technology team developing digital infrastructure.

Editor’s Note: Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar

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