US billionaire Frank McCourt has unveiled plans this week to spearhead a consortium aimed at acquiring TikTok’s US company.

This announcement adds weight to the number of investors eyeing the benefits of a new federal mandate compelling TikTok’s Chinese parent company to put the platform up for sale or potentially fall under a banning order in the States.

Collaborating with investment banking titan Guggenheim Securities, McCourt’s initiative, dubbed Project Liberty, would bring about a transformational overhaul for the platform. Emphasising a move towards “people and data empowerment”, McCourt has said he will pivot TikTok’s ethos towards a more people-centric “design and purpose”.

Should the bid succeed, the ex-Los Angeles Dodgers owner pledges a radical restructuring, promising enhanced user agency over digital identities and data. Central to his vision is a migration towards an open-source protocol, fostering greater transparency in the platform’s operations.

Despite not being a user of the app himself, McCourt’s bid is driven by his businesses’ reliance on the platform. The move echoes his longstanding commitment to reshaping the internet landscape with robust data privacy safeguards, a mission championed through Project Liberty which is aimed at crafting a more secure digital sphere. 

Former US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is among other investors looking at TikTok, yet it is only McCourt’s bid that pays specific attention to nurturing user-centric data governance.

However, ByteDance, TikTok’s umbrella company, has underlined that it does not intend to sell. Experts have also expressed doubt that the Chinese government would green-light such a transaction, not least because it would include TikTok’s recommendation engine behind the videos that appear on users’ pages.

No fan of centralized recommendation algorithms, McCourt has said he thinks ByteDance will eventually sell TikTok’s US operations.

ByteDance and TikTok mounted a legal offensive last week against a recent law threatening their US operations. In a parallel move this week, eight TikTok creators moved to challenge the law, asserting it infringes upon their constitutional right to free speech.

Know the risks

As investors and politicians work to control TikTok’s influence in the US, users worldwide are reminded of the Chinese firm’s data processing behaviours and the potential risks associated with the collection and sharing of sensitive data, particularly in the context of national security.

The key issues fall under the microscope next week at PrivSec Global, where experts will discuss the difficulties posed by the popular video platform.

Don’t miss…

National Security: Assessing the Implications of Data Sharing Concerns with TikTok

  • Date: Wednesday 22 May, 2024
  • Time: 18:00 - 18:45 GMT

In recent years, the popular social media platform TikTok has faced intense scrutiny over its data handling practices and alleged ties to the Chinese government.

This panel discussion delves into the complexities of the TikTok controversy. Topics of discussion will include the technological implications of data sharing, the legal and regulatory frameworks surrounding digital privacy, geopolitical considerations and potential strategies for mitigating risks while preserving innovation and global connectivity.

Join us as we explore the multifaceted dimensions of this pressing issue and consider the implications for individuals, governments, and the broader digital landscape.


  • Susanne Bitter, Head of Regional Strategic Alliances, Cyber Security Forum Initiative


The sessions sits within a packed two-day agenda of insight and guidance at PrivSec Global, livestreaming through Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 May, 2024. 

Click here to book your place at PrivSec Global today

Discover more at PrivSec Global

As regulation gets stricter – and data and tech become more crucial – it’s increasingly clear that the skills required in each of these areas are not only connected, but inseparable.

Exclusively at PrivSec Global on 22 & 23 May 2024, industry leaders, academics and subject-matter experts unite to explore these skills and the central role they play in privacy, security and GRC.

Click here to register