TikTok Dismisses Report about Creating US-Only Algorithm to Avoid Ban

Once the project about the US-only algorithm, which requires splitting the underlying code that binds TikTok's US operations to ByteDance, completed, it could lay a foundation of ByteDance's divestiture, according to the report.

TMTPost -- TikTok dismisses about its efforts for creating U.S.-only algorithmto avoid a ban in the United States.

Credit:TikTok

Credit:TikTok

The Reuters report published on Thursday is “misleading and factually inaccurate”, TikTok said in a post on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. the world’s leading short video sharing platform reiterated its conclusion expressed in its court filling earlier this month: the “qualified divestiture” demanded by the Act to allow TikTok to continue operating in the United States is simply not possible: not commercially, not technologically, not legally. Neither the 270-day timeline required by the Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act ( the “Act”) can continue TikTok’s operation, it added.

TikTok has been working on creating a clone of its recommendation algorithm for its U.S. users since its Chinese owner ByteDance Ltd., directed splitting the source code late last year,  Reuters reported, citing sources with knowledge of the efforts. The new version of algorithm may be more palatable to American lawmakers who want to ban TikTok as it allows the short video platform to operate independently from Douyin, its Chinese sister operated by ByteDance.

Once the project about the U.S.-exclusive algorithm, which requires splitting the underlying code that binds TikTok’s U.S. operations to ByteDance, completed, it could lay a foundation for ByteDance to divest TikTok forced by the Act, according to the report. Completing the project is reportedly to take more than a year. The project marks TiTok is stepping up to show its U.S. operations are independent of its Chinese parent since a previous plan to silo off U.S. user data failed to appease U.S. regulators and lawmakers, per the report.

A Reuters spokesperson said the news agency stands by its reporting following TikTok’s denial. And the related report noted TikTok didn’t specify what was inaccurate.

The Act, as part of a comprehensive foreign aid package providing assistance to Israel, Ukraine and other U.S allies, gives ByteDance 270 days to divest its U.S. assets including TikTok, otherwise the Chinese tech giant would face a ban on its app being available in U.S. app stores or on U.S. web hosting services. TikTok filed a federal lawsuit on May 7 to seek a court order to prevent the U.S. government from enforcing the Act.

In a filling with  the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, TikTok and ByteDance request for review of constitutionality of the Act, claiming the Act is unconstitutional for violation of the First Amendment, burdening its protected speech rights. The “qualified divestiture” demanded by the Act to allow TikTok to continue operating in the United States is simply not possible: not commercially, not technologically, not legally, TikTok said in its filling. It said it has repeatedly explained to the U.S. government and sponsors of the Act were aware of the divestment is not possible, so the Act will effectively “force a shutdown of TikTok by January 19, 2025, silencing the 170 million Americans who use the platform to communicate in ways that cannot be replicated elsewhere.”

ByteDance was reported to internally explore scenarios for selling a majority stake in TikTok’s U.S. business and the sales options include the TikTok brand would exclude the algorithm that powers TikTok. It was also reported to prefer selling to a company that is not directly involved in the tech industry. ByteDance denied late April the report about sales option. Reuters then reported ByteDance would rather shut down TikTok in the United States than sell the app if it exhausts all options to fight the legislation. ByteDance is very unlikely to sell TikTok as the algorithms the app relies on for its operations are considered core to ByteDance’s overall operation, according to the report. Bytedance didn’t comment on the report.

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