TikTok denies claims of working on US algorithm

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TikTok denies claims of working on US algorithm
TikTok denies claims of working on US algorithm

TikTok has firmly denied media reports claiming that the social media platform is developing a separate version of its recommendation algorithm specifically for its 170 million U.S. users.

The Reuters report suggests that TikTok aims to create a version that operates independently of its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, potentially appeasing American lawmakers who voted to force a sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations.

In a post on X, TikTok called the media stories “misleading and factually inaccurate.”

The company stated, “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.”

The development of a separate U.S. algorithm could be seen as an attempt by TikTok to address concerns raised by U.S. lawmakers and President Biden about potential data access by the Chinese government.

By creating an independent algorithm, TikTok may aim to demonstrate that its U.S. operations are separate from its Chinese counterpart, reducing the perceived risk of data misuse or spying.

Reuters stand by their claims

Despite TikTok’s denial, Reuters claim that the work on splitting the source code was ordered by ByteDance late last year, predating the bill signed into law in April that required a sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations.

According to these reports, while there are no plans for a divestiture of TikTok’s U.S. assets, the development of a separate algorithm could lay the groundwork for such a move in the future.

The goal, as stated in the reports, is to eliminate any information linking to Chinese users and ensure the algorithm’s independence from its Chinese counterpart.

Legal challenges

TikTok and ByteDance have filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court, seeking to block the law that forces a sale or ban of the app. The companies argue that such a divestiture is not commercially, technologically, or legally possible within the required timeline.

The legal challenges are ongoing, and the outcome remains to be seen.

As the battle between TikTok and U.S. lawmakers continues, the company remains adamant in its stance that the development of a separate U.S. algorithm is not feasible.

The conflicting reports from TikTok and media outlets highlight the ongoing tensions surrounding the popular social media platform and its perceived ties to the Chinese government.

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