ByteDance Would Rather Shut TikTok Down Than Sell to U.S.

( – President Joe Biden recently signed a law giving the social media app TikTok until January 19th, 2025 to sell to an American tech company or be banned in the United States. ByteDance, the parent company for TikTok and several other media applications, says it will not sell TikTok to any U.S. company because of the “secret algorithm” used to recommend videos to users. The algorithm is said to be core to all ByteDance operations. One news source falsely reported the company was considering selling the app without the algorithm. Since it would be much too difficult to separate the algorithm from the app, ByteDance has refused to sell.

ByteDance claims the 170 billion American users of TikTok constitute only about 25% of the parent company’s total revenue. Information on the company’s finances is not readily available and difficult to obtain, but it is believed that most of the revenue for ByteDance comes from the app Douyin. Douyin is a similar version of TikTok used in China that adheres to the country’s strict censorship laws.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said that TikTok isn’t “going anywhere.” Shortly after Biden signed the new law, Chew said the company intends to challenge the law’s legality and believes TikTok will prevail. There have been other attempts to ban TikTok in the U.S., and the courts have always ruled against the ban. Chew is confident the results will be the same this time as well.

If U.S. courts do not strike the law down, the company would prefer to shut down operations in the U.S. over being forced to sell to an American company. If the U.S. successfully bans the app, it would no longer be available in app stores. U.S. phones would no longer allow updates for the app and it would lose compatibility with operating systems, and internet service providers would be forced to block access to TikTok.

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