TikTok could go dark in USA as ByteDance refuse to sell its secret algorithm

by Surur
September 13, 2020
tiktok secret sauce

We reported recently that China would rather lose TikTok in USA than allow ByteDance to be forced to sell the company, and it seems that outcome is now very likely.

With days to go before the September 15th deadline, the South China Morning Post has confirmed, via their sources, that ByteDance will not be selling their personalization algorithm, the secret source behind their addictive feed, to any American companies.

“The company [ByteDance] will not hand out source code to any US buyer, but the technology team of TikTok in the US can develop a new algorithm,” the source told the South China Morning Post. “The car can be sold, but not the engine.”

According to their source potential bidders and US authorities have been informed of the decision.

Creating a new algorithm is likely to be slow and lose TikTok US its current users, and otherwise stifle its growth, dramatically lowering the value of the acquisition.

Current potential buyers include Microsoft and Oracle, but it is unclear if these companies are willing to pay for what amounts to a shell of the company.

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