U.S News & World Report: Why the People Should Own TikTok

Jun 6 U.s. News & World Report Brianna navarre

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Frank McCourt Jr. announced “a people’s bid” to buy social media giant TikTok last month on behalf of Project Liberty, a $500 million nonprofit initiative he founded to build a “better internet.”

Today, a group of parents whose children took their own lives after facing cyberbullying and accessing dangerous content on social media joined McCourt to pledge their support for his efforts to form a consortium to buy and redesign the platform as a first step toward building a safer, less exploitative internet where we take back control of our personal information.

The perils of social media and his vision for an internet where people own their data and govern technology platforms are the subject of McCourt’s new book with Michael Casey, “Our Biggest Fight: Reclaiming Liberty, Humanity, and Dignity In the Digital Age.” 

Yesterday, McCourt sat down with U.S. News in Washington, D.C., to discuss his vision for a better internet, in the hands of the people who use it. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

U.S. News: You made news by announcing you’re launching a “people’s bid” to buy TikTok. What does that mean – and why buy TikTok?

Frank McCourt: The people should own a piece of this platform. They’re the ones creating the data and the value. So I see this as a coalition that we’re building of different interest groups, different capital sources. Different people are stepping forward because they see this as a viable alternative. Because it will have value and it will be a good investment. But also because they share the values and the value proposition. They want to see an alternative to the current internet where we’re basically just the product.

If 170 million people [who are active on TikTok] migrated to this alternative, you have the scale necessary to actually have a viable alternative. So we see this opportunity with TikTok to capitalize on this alternative internet.

I’m not looking to own TikTok, or be the CEO of a social media platform. What I’m interested in is catalyzing this alternative internet.

Read the full piece on the U.S. News & World Report website.

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