ByteDance plans to sell TikTok's US arm without source code

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ByteDance may not hand over the code used to build TikTok's algorithm as part of its sale to a US buyer, a report claims, with the Chinese tech company apparently informing bidders and authorities in the US about the change in stance.




With the deadline for divestment of TikTok's US operations looming, ByteDance is keen to get a sale through. But ahead of Tuesday's deadline for negotiations, ByteDance has apparently changed what is actually being put up for sale in the first place.

A source of the South China Morning Post claims ByteDance "will not hand out source code to any US buyer" for TikTok. However, the source adds "the technology team of TikTok in the US can develop a new algorithm," suggesting the change of terms isn't a major roadblock for anyone buying the business, but it would add new obstacles.

Without an algorithm in the sale, this would force buyers to have to develop their own one, which could take time. A source familiar with ByteDance's technology suggested the source code is the same in all countries, albeit modified on a market-by-market basis.

As part of the altered negotiations, ByteDance is said to have told US regulators and those seeking to buy the assets that the algorithm is off the table. The White House was also informed, but the source added that if the condition of sale was rejected by President Donald Trump, there would be no chance of a deal being reached.

The lack of an algorithm is likely due to the Chinese government making a change to its list of restricted technologies in late August. The restrictions, which would require a license from authorities to allow a sale, covers topics including data-processing technologies, which would be the primary function of TikTok's algorithm.

At the time of the new restrictions, ByteDance confirmed it would "strictly comply" with any regulations for technology exports.

The chance of getting a license from Chinese authorities for an algorithm sale is relatively low, given the timescales involved. Furthermore, it is claimed the Chinese government opposes the sale in the first place, due to a forced sale making both ByteDance and the government appear weak, and that it would rather see the US operations shut down instead.

Negotiations for the fate of TikTok's US operations are ongoing, and are thought to include Microsoft, Walmart, and Oracle. The deal was valued at one point at $30 billion, but the loss of the algorithm may reduce the price down.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    Hahaha... Any attempt at a sale is DOA.
    aderutter
  • Reply 2 of 24
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,083member
    Wait? They won't hand over source code? That is suspicious. If I were the company buying other's technology, source code is an absolute must. It's part of the whole process. 


    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 24
    Who cares, shut the darn thing....we don’t used it at my household anyway, and they dont have my crap to spy in the first place 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 24
    netrox said:
    Wait? They won't hand over source code? That is suspicious. If I were the company buying other's technology, source code is an absolute must. It's part of the whole process. 



    China was clear:   They don't want the U.S. stealing their IP.
  • Reply 5 of 24
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Who cares, shut the darn thing....we don’t used it at my household anyway, and they dont have my crap to spy in the first place 

    Millions of young, mostly liberal people use it.   Enough to have humiliated Trump in Tulsa when they conned the con.

    It's why Trump wants to appropriate their company -- he can't stand the thought of  being humiliated like that again.
    From the BBC:
    "TikTok says that it doesn't keep any data in China and would never give it to China.

    But, in many ways it doesn't matter what they say, the fact that they are owned by a Chinese's company is guilt enough.

    Not to be overlooked either is Trump's previous experience with TikTok.

    Last month users claimed to have scuppered his Tulsa rally after signing up to tickets they had no intention of using.

    And although there are Republican and conservative voices on TikTok, the profile of users in the US is generally young and liberal/left.

    It's hard to believe that's not a factor here."


  • Reply 6 of 24
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,561member
    netrox said:
    Wait? They won't hand over source code? That is suspicious. If I were the company buying other's technology, source code is an absolute must. It's part of the whole process. 



    China was clear:   They don't want the U.S. stealing their IP.

    iRony of the century.
    MplsPaderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 24
    This is either the owners being petty, (good on em) or this is a sign that there is stuff in the design of the algorithm that they don’t want getting out. 
    bageljoeywatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 24
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,421member
    This is either the owners being petty, (good on em) or this is a sign that there is stuff in the design of the algorithm that they don’t want getting out. 
    Probably because they stole it from the US in the first place.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 24
    didn’t quite realise how much ism was alive in this forum. maga hats ftw.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 24
    netrox said:
    Wait? They won't hand over source code? That is suspicious. If I were the company buying other's technology, source code is an absolute must. It's part of the whole process. 



    China was clear:   They don't want the U.S. stealing their IP.
    When you purchase something (IP), it’s not stealing.
    watto_cobragatorguy
  • Reply 11 of 24
    They probably don’t want people to see just how they were spying on all of their users. 
    taddwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 24
    A source familiar with ByteDance's technology suggested the source code is the same in all countries, albeit modified on a market-by-market basis.

    So it's the same, but different. Got it.
    taddbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 24
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,356member
    Beats said:
    netrox said:
    Wait? They won't hand over source code? That is suspicious. If I were the company buying other's technology, source code is an absolute must. It's part of the whole process. 



    China was clear:   They don't want the U.S. stealing their IP.

    iRony of the century.
    Exactly - from a country that has institutionalized IP theft
    taddwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 24
    So they’re buying a website address, and U. S rights to the name with no code. 

    That’s going to be a cheap sale. 
    aderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 24
    I may have ‘written’ this off too soon. The news is saying Oracle will buy them out for their US operations.
  • Reply 16 of 24
    elijahg said:
    This is either the owners being petty, (good on em) or this is a sign that there is stuff in the design of the algorithm that they don’t want getting out. 
    Probably because they stole it from the US in the first place.

    LOL....   That just shows the gullibiity of the Trumpers....  To actually believe his smear campaigns.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    n2macs said:
    netrox said:
    Wait? They won't hand over source code? That is suspicious. If I were the company buying other's technology, source code is an absolute must. It's part of the whole process. 



    China was clear:   They don't want the U.S. stealing their IP.
    When you purchase something (IP), it’s not stealing.

    When you force them to "Sell" it like Trump is doing, it's appropriation.   In other words:  STEALING.   In this case, stealing IP.
    bonobob
  • Reply 18 of 24
    They probably don’t want people to see just how they were spying on all of their users. 

    No, Trump just doesn't want American TikTok users to humiliate him -- again.

    Plus, he made a deal with Zuckerberg:  "You let me run my fake videos on Facebook and I'll use the power of the presidency to eliminate your competition." 
    ...  Trump can only win by controlling the message and, in this case, controlling the vehicle of that message.  Otherwise he and his lies look, well, pititful.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 19 of 24
    MplsP said:
    Beats said:
    netrox said:
    Wait? They won't hand over source code? That is suspicious. If I were the company buying other's technology, source code is an absolute must. It's part of the whole process. 



    China was clear:   They don't want the U.S. stealing their IP.

    iRony of the century.
    Exactly - from a country that has institutionalized IP theft

    IF you're fool enough to believe the ConMan.
  • Reply 20 of 24
    So, not only is Trump trying to protect his message by controlling the messenger (he controls FaceBook so his fake videos run, but he can't control TikTok or its users) and seeking revenge for his humiliation at the hands of TikTok users but, as the BBC reports:

    "Earlier this month Mr Trump said the government should get a "substantial portion" of the sale price of TikTok's US unit if an American firm buys it."

    What is interesting here is all the Trumpers support this appropriation of a foreign company on VERY shaky, factfree grounds but:  the U.S. government is not only stealing another countries IP but profiting from the steal!
    ...  If China did this to an American company Trumpers heads would be exploding all over the country!

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