TikTok Denies Report About Splitting Code To Create A US-Only Algorithm: 'Qualified Divestiture' Needed To Continue Operating In The Country Not Possible

ByteDance-owned TikTok on Thursday refuted a report stating that the platform is working on a clone of its recommendation algorithm for its 170 million U.S. users.

What Happened: TikTok intends to create a version of its algorithm that functions separately from its Chinese parent company, potentially appeasing American lawmakers who have expressed intentions to ban it, reported Reuters, citing sources with direct knowledge of the development.

The work on splitting the source code, which was ordered by ByteDance late last year, began before a bill to force a sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations gained traction in Congress.

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However, TikTok took to X, formerly Twitter, and refuted the statements made in the report stating, “As we said in our court filing, 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. And certainly not on the 270-day timeline required by the Act.”

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Why It Matters: ByteDance and TikTok are currently suing the U.S. federal court to block the law that forces a sale or ban of the app by Jan. 19. A U.S. appeals court has set a fast-track schedule to consider the legal challenges to the new law.

This move came after the company acknowledged that the Chinese government would not allow the sale of its algorithm, despite a nine-month ultimatum given by President Joe Biden to divest or face a ban.

“The Chinese government has made clear that it would not permit a divestment of the recommendation engine that is a key to the success of TikTok in the United States,” the company said in its court filing.

The U.S. government has asserted that the TikTok algorithm presents a national security risk, suggesting potential exploitation by the Chinese government for large-scale influence operations within the U.S.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has also hinted at the potential for a TikTok ban within the EU.

Photo by XanderSt on Shutterstock

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Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

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