France 24: US businessman eyes TikTok takeover to save internet from Big Tech

Jun 19 France 24 Agence France-Presse

Frank McCourt, a US real estate billionaire, aims to buy TikTok to rescue the internet from the clutches of major platforms that he firmly believes are destroying society and endangering children.

In the United States, McCourt is best known as the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, while in Europe he is the current proprietor of storied football club Olympique de Marseille that counts French President Emmanuel Macron among its fans.

For years, McCourt has railed against the power of the big tech platforms, accusing them of harming children and helping send the world off the rails.

“We are being manipulated by these big platforms. And that’s why we see in free societies everywhere, there’s sort of the world on fire, right?” McCourt told AFP at the Collision tech conference in Toronto.

He cited political upheaval in France, where the far-right could secure a decisive victory in the upcoming parliamentary elections, as the latest example.

“There’s a lot of agitation, a lot of chaos, a lot of polarization. Well, you know what, the algorithms are working well. They’re keeping us in that constant state. It’s time for change.”

McCourt said he was initially motivated to act by the threat posed by social media to his own seven children.

“This internet is predatory. It’s doing a lot of damage to kids. We see the anxiety, the depression, and an epidemic now of children taking their lives,” he said.

Read the full piece on France 24’s website here.

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