Project Liberty claims that by switching TikTok to DSNP, it will be able to scale faster and compete more effectively with similar protocols.

Since McCourt’s $150 million investment in the platform in 2022, Project Liberty has moved over 875,000 of its 20 million MeWe accounts to DSNP.

Owning TikTok would give the initiative access to more than 150 million users, even if the app lacks its enviable algorithm. However, that figure pales in comparison to Facebook’s reported 3 billion monthly active users.

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Despite being around for more than a decade, open protocols such as DSNP have never been more popular as they are currently. Mastodon is one of the only platforms that uses ActivityPub, a protocol comparable to DSNP. Meta’s Threads platform is also incorporating the protocol. Anything you publish on Threads may appear on Mastodon if you choose to join the “fediverse.”

European antitrust laws, such as the Digital Markets Act, have required many large platforms to make their messaging services interoperable as well. Earlier this week, Apple revealed that iMessage would support the RCS protocol in iOS18, replacing SMS and allowing higher-quality photos and read receipts to be sent to Android smartphones.

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This combination of competition, regulatory authority, and digital idealism has resulted in an open internet revolution, which McCourt hopes to seize by chasing TikTok. However, open protocols are not always profitable, mostly because no one owns them. Capitalism developed the web we use today, warts and all, and it’s impossible to imagine it relinquishing control anytime soon.

“Somebody else shouldn’t own us, and we should decide what pieces and parts of our social graph information gets shared with other people and other platforms,” McCourt stated. “This is a fantastic opportunity, and the reason I’m so optimistic is that we’ve had an incredible outpouring of support from all kinds of people and institutions and money sources that are very excited about this.”

Revolutionizing the internet is a noble ambition, but it remains unclear whether Bytedance is willing to sell TikTok at all. Even if the corporation divested, TikTok would take years to transfer to DSNP. Maybe by then, we’ll all be posting on Reels.