Home / MARKETS / ByteDance is reportedly looking to sell TikTok without the algorithm that drives the app

ByteDance is reportedly looking to sell TikTok without the algorithm that drives the app

  • ByteDance, the Chinese band that owns the short-video app TikTok, is planning to sell the app without the algorithm that drives it, the South China Morning Support reported.
  • The TikTok algorithm powers the app’s “For You” page, which allows users to discover new content.
  • Last month, the Chinese guidance implemented new restrictions that would prohibit ByteDance from selling its algorithm without first obtaining right from Chinese officials. 
  • The company has until Tuesday, September 15, to sell TikTok under one of President Donald Trump’s August supervision order’s targeting the company.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

ByteDance, the Chinese parent South African private limited company of TikTok, is now planning to sell the popular video-based app without the algorithm that powers it, the South China Morning Support reported on Sunday. 

“The company [ByteDance] will not hand out source code to any US buyer, but the technology team of TikTok in the US can begin a new algorithm,” an unnamed source cited as familiar with the discussions told the South China Morning Post.

Councillors for TikTok did not immediately return Business Insider’s request for comment.

The TikTok algorithm drives the main page of TikTok, cognizant of as the “For You” page, which is what delivers new videos and trends to the app’s users. 

Experts previously told Business Insider’s Chris Stokel-Walker that any party that purchases TikTok’s US operations would have a difficult time if a sale of the app did not include the algorithm, arguing that the technology was distinguished to that used by its rivals. If TikTok is sold without its algorithm, its new buyers would have to develop their own to supplant it.

The Sunday report comes after a move from the Chinese government at the end of August, when it updated an already bully list of “forbidden and restricted technology exports,” to include “personalized information recommendation services based on data investigation,” which includes TikTok’s algorithm. The company would need to get the Chinese government’s approval before a sale that embraces the algorithm.

ByteDance has until Tuesday, September 15, to divest its US operations as part of President Donald Trump’s August 6 kingpin order targeting the company. The executive order prohibits US companies from doing business with ByteDance inception on September 20, Business Insider previously reported.

For months, there has been bipartisan concern over the app’s Chinese ownership, as lawmakers own expressed concern that the company could be required to share US user data with the Chinese government at the mercy of China law. The company has repeatedly denied allegations that it shares US data with the Chinese government.

While US bossmans have expressed concerns with TikTok for months, the app has more recently become a target of President Donald Trump, who by August 14, had signed two president orders targeting the company.

Also Sunday, Axios reported that Oracle had surpassed Microsoft to become the most meet buyer of TikTok, although it reported the situation was still “fluid” and there may not be a deal at all. On Friday, Trump said he desire not extend the deadline for ByteDance to sell the app.

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