Social Media: Real Estate Tycoon Bets $ 100 Million To Save The Internet: What Is The Ambitious Project Liberty?

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Representative image. | Photo credit: iStock images

Highlights

  • Massive platforms like Facebook and Twitter, where millions of users congregate daily, are increasingly criticized for their data-sharing and censorship practices which many critics say undermine competition and democratic dialogue.
  • McCourt’s Liberty Project Aims To Use Blockchain To Create A New Internet Infrastructure Called Decentralized Social Network Protocol
  • The billionaire will invest $ 75 million in the effort, which will be undertaken by Georgetown University in Washington and Sciences Po in Paris

British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee launched Inrupt, a new startup which he says aims to solve some of the biggest problems that have come to cripple the open internet, possibly for the most convincing case the internet we know today is broken.

The revered computer engineer is widely credited with inventing the Internet browsing protocol known as the World Wide Web, but the concentration of Internet traffic on closed platforms like Facebook or Twitter is clearly not his vision. originally had.

Inrupt, he says, promises an Internet where data is stored in “pods” or online personal data stores controlled directly by the user. In doing so, it is the individual who retains ownership and control of their data with companies that have to request access to that data in exchange for the services they provide.

But a recent Bloomberg report revealed that Sir Berners-Lee is not the only one who not only attacks the way personal data has been accumulated and exploited by Facebook and other mainstream internet platforms, but is also home to also the conviction to build new technologies to face this problem.

Real estate mogul and former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Frank McCourt seems to have similar views, having now started Project Liberty. The effort aims to create a publicly accessible database of people’s social connections, allowing users to seamlessly transport these recordings from one social media platform to another. By doing this, users are no longer forced to use specific apps, while retaining power over who they share their data with.

“I never thought I would question the security of our underlying systems, namely democracy and capitalism,” McCourt told Bloomberg. “We live under constant surveillance, and what is happening with this massive accumulation of wealth and power in the hands of the few is incredibly unsettling. It threatens capitalism because capitalism needs some form of fairness in order to survive. ”

The idea that social media needs to be reformed has gained ground and, most importantly, in recent years. Massive platforms like Facebook and Twitter, where millions of users congregate daily, are increasingly criticized for their data-sharing and censorship practices which many critics say undermine competition and democratic dialogue.

In fact, following the ousting of former US President Donald Trump from Twitter, the company’s CEO Jack Dorsey himself admitted that blockchain – the technology on which cryptocurrencies and the same one that will be adopted by Project Liberty – could contain the answers to a more democratized world. and open the Internet.

McCourt’s Liberty project aims to use blockchain to create a new internet infrastructure called the Decentralized Social Network Protocol. Similar to cryptocurrencies, the blockchain will store users’ social logins, forcing all social media companies to tap into the same social graph. In doing so, social media platforms will then need to differentiate themselves on the basis of the quality and diversity of the services they offer, rather than the data they collect, own and use.

McCourt commissioned Braxton Woodham, co-founder of meal delivery company Sun Basket and former CTO of movie ticket website Fandango, whose concept is the original idea, to create DSNP.

The billionaire will invest $ 75 million in the effort, which will be undertaken by Georgetown University in Washington and Sciences Po in Paris. An additional $ 25 million would, it seems, be used to encourage entrepreneurs to develop services using the DSNP.

The business is indeed noble, but McCourt, referring to the Jan.6 U.S. Capitol riots sparked by the proliferation of disinformation on social media, says the alternative is becoming increasingly worrying. “Look at the cesspool that has been created. Look at the reality that the Internet has become, ”he said.


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