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  • Marijan Hassan - Tech Journalist

TikTok considering a US-only algorithm in face of potential ban

The future of TikTok in the US remains uncertain. A previous report suggested ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, might opt to shut down the app rather than sell it if U.S. legislation bans the platform from American app stores. This is because ByteDance considers the algorithms that power TikTok as its most valuable assets and selling would mean potentially handing it to rivals.

Now, according to a Reuters report, TikTok is exploring a potential solution: creating a separate algorithm specifically for US users. An anonymous source revealed that the project has been in development since last year and the US-specific algorithm is completely separate from Douyin, the Chinese version of the app.

The report further details internal discussions about the project, noting that executives have talked about the project on Lark, the company’s internal communication platform. According to the sources, splitting the source code will sever TikTok US from the "massive engineering development power" of ByteDance.

This raises concerns about the new algorithm's effectiveness, but it’s said that TikTok is determined to prove to lawmakers that the US business is independent of its owner in Beijing

TikTok has publicly denied these claims in an X post writing, “The Reuters story published today is misleading and factually inaccurate.” The company remains optimistic that it will win the ongoing case and be allowed to continue operating.

In response, Reuters says it stands with its report.


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