Home Politics A billionaire has a plan to save the Internet: buying TikTok is the next step

A billionaire has a plan to save the Internet: buying TikTok is the next step

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A billionaire has a plan to save the Internet: buying TikTok is the next step

By migrating TikTok to DSNP, Project Liberty says it could scale quickly, making it more competitive against similar protocols. Project Liberty has migrated more than 875,000 of 20 million MeWe accounts to DSNP since McCourt’s $150 million investment in the platform in 2022.

Owning TikTok would give the project more than 150 million users, even if the app doesn’t come with its enviable algorithm. Still, that number dwarfs when compared to, say, Facebook’s. reported 3 billion monthly active users.

Despite having been around for over a decade, open protocols like DSNP have never been more popular than now. Mastodon is one of the few platforms that works with ActivityPub, a protocol similar to DSNP. Meta’s Threads platform has also begun incorporating the protocol. Anything you post on Threads could appear on Mastodon if you choose to join the “fediverse.”

European antitrust regulations, such as the Digital Markets Act, have forced many large platforms to make their messaging services interoperable as well. Earlier this week, Apple announced that iMessage would support the RCS protocol in iOS18, replacing SMS and allowing higher quality image sharing and read receipts with Android devices.

This combination of competition, regulatory power, and digital idealism has led to an open internet renaissance that McCourt seeks to capitalize on with TikTok. Still, open protocols are not necessarily profitable, mainly because no one owns them. Capitalism created the network we use today, flaws and all, and it’s hard to think it would abandon that control anytime soon.

“No one else should own us and we should decide what bits and pieces of information in our social graph are shared with other people and other platforms,” ​​McCourt said. “This is a fantastic opportunity, and the reason I’m so optimistic is that we’ve had incredible support from all kinds of people, institutions and money sources who are very excited about this.”

Revolutionizing the internet is an admirable goal, but it’s still unclear whether Bytedance is open to selling TikTok. Even if the company were to divest, it would take years for TikTok to migrate to DSNP. Maybe by then we’ll all be posting to Reels.

The chat room

I have been immersed in the diversity discourse for months and may be too optimistic about how the Internet could be democratized. Do you think this is where the website is headed? How do you think it might affect political discourse and online organizing?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment on the site or email me at mail@wired.com.

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Wired readings

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What else are we reading?

🔗 The hidden life of Google’s secret weapon: For years, Joshua Wright was a staple in the conservative antitrust debate over Big Tech. But a series of love affairs and scandals led to the lobbyist’s downfall. (The Wall Street Journal)

🔗 Google still recommends glue for your pizza: Last month, Google’s AI search results told people to put glue on their pizza and eat it, pulling information from a Reddit post. We are two weeks into June and it hasn’t changed! (The edge)

🔗 Congress wants Scarlett Johansson to testify about OpenAI dispute: The House Oversight Committee plans to hold a hearing on deepfakes next month. Scarlett Johannson, voice of OS in the film, has been asked His, to testify after he accused OpenAI of stealing his image. (Axios)

The download

This week, the WIRED Policy Lab The podcast team is releasing a fun episode about a pair of AI robots running for public office. Vittoria Elliott and David Gilbert join our host, Leah Feiger, to discuss what it means and if it’s legal. Plus, they explain how some AI chatbots won’t share the winner of the 2020 US presidential election. Go check it out wherever you listen to podcasts.

Thanks again for subscribing! You can contact me by email, instagram, x and Signal at makenakelly.32.

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