Is TikTok Planning a US-Only Algorithm to Escape American Lawmakers?

a tiktok app icon is displayed in front of the capitol building .

a tiktok app icon is displayed in front of the capitol building .

To sidestep the attempted ban of TikTok in the United States, developer ByteDance is reportedly working on a new algorithm to please American lawmakers.

Over the years, critics have targeted TikTok for its algorithm that keeps users hooked to its platform. Unlike rival social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, TikTok’s algorithm—and its Chinese origins—have led US lawmakers to attempt to shut down the platform for years.

A new report from Reuters claims that American users will soon use a separate version of TikTok that operates differently from the current worldwide version of the app.

ByteDance says it developed the new algorithm as part of an initiative to show the United States that the company is independent of its Beijing-based owners.

While this could be a good idea for the company, ByteDance quickly shut down the report, calling it “100 percent false.”

In a statement released on Twitter, ByteDance addressed the report, calling it “misleading and factually inaccurate.”

“The Reuters story published today misleads and contains factual inaccuracies,” the company announced. “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.”

In a separate statement to The Verge, TikTok spokesperson Michael Hughes explained that the company has no plans to split off the source code to appease members of the American government.

“It is simply false to suggest that this work would facilitate divestiture or that divestiture is even a possibility,” Hughes told the outlet.

While TikTok has attempted to convince US lawmakers of the safety of Americans’ data, the attempt to ban TikTok continues. In response, the company has filed a lawsuit against the United States government over its unlawful attempts to shut down the app.

For now, TikTok remains active in the US, with users still enjoying trends like the Peter Griffin filter and new TikTok Streaks. While some controversies remain—such as indecent AI-generated images—the app is still accessible to its massive user base.

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