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Project Liberty Forms Group to Bid For TikTok’s Operations in US

US billionaire Frank McCourt’s non-profit says it is working with Guggenheim Securities, Kirkland & Ellis, plus others to migrate TikTok to a digital open-source site

US billionaire Frank McCourt attends a news conference at Marseille city hall to announce he had entered exclusive negotiations to buy Olympique de Marseille in France (Reuters file image from August 2016).


The non-profit group Project Liberty is forming a consortium to try to buy TikTok’s operations in the United States, according to its founder, US entrepreneur Frank McCourt.

The US billionaire, the chairman of McCourt Global and a former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, said on Wednesday that Project Liberty – a $500-million initiative launched publicly in 2021 – is keen to buy the Chinese social media platform’s unit in the US.

Project Liberty describes itself as a movement of people who want “a more open, inclusive and responsible internet.”


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McCourt’s move comes three weeks after US President Joe Biden signed a divestment law that gives TikTok’s owner, the Chinese tech conglomerate ByteDance, until January 19 next year to sell TikTok or face a ban.

The bill was passed by US lawmakers on account of worries that China could access Americans’ data or surveil them via 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, has proposed to migrate the platform to a digital open-source protocol.

It claims to have an international partner network that includes Georgetown University, Stanford University, Sciences Po, and other leading academic institutions and civic organizations — plus a technological team “focused on developing the next generation of digital infrastructure.”

Its activities include the release of the Decentralized Social Networking Protocol (DSNP) in 2021, which it calls “a piece of digital public infrastructure which will serve as the bedrock of a more equitable web and support a new era of innovation that empowers people over platforms and serves the common good.”

The launch of DSNP was set up to create a shared social graph “not dependent on a specific application or a centralized platform.”


  • Reuters with additional input and editing by Jim Pollard



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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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