TikTok is splitting its source code to create a US-only algorithm

TikTok is splitting its source code to create a US-only algorithm

According to reports, the well-known social media app owned by ByteDance, TikTok is splitting its source code to create a US-only algorithm. With this endeavor, US lawmakers’ worries about national security will be addressed by a stand-alone algorithm designed just for the US. Sources claim this endeavor has been going on since last year, despite TikTok’s denial.


The parent business of TikTok, ByteDance, runs the Douyin app in China. An algorithm for content recommendations powers both versions’ ability to personalize material for users. Representatives from the US have put pressure on TikTok to demonstrate its independence from its Chinese parent business amid growing concerns about data privacy and national security.

TikTok is splitting its source code

Reuters reported sources stating that ByteDance started the code-splitting project towards the end of last year. There are hundreds of engineers working on this intricate process from China and the US. To establish a separate code base for the US version of TikTok, they must sort through millions of lines of code. Eliminating ties to the Chinese equivalent, Douyin, is the aim.

Reasons and Challenges

This split was primarily done to allay concerns that TikTok would provide Chinese authorities access to user data from US users. TikTok hopes to demonstrate to lawmakers and authorities that its US operations are secure and independent by developing a distinct US algorithm. This endeavor is not without difficulties, though. The code needs to be carefully reviewed and rewritten by engineers, a procedure that is known as “dirty work” because of its complexity. The anticipated duration of the process is more than a year.

Official Responses

The Reuters article has been openly refuted by TikTok, which has described it as false and misleading. According to Michael Hughes, a spokesman for TikTok, there is no preparation for divestment or code separation involved in the measures taken to ensure the platform’s legitimacy. He made it clear that TikTok has no intention of selling its US assets.

Project Texas and Transparency Issues

TikTok previously introduced “Project Texas,” which was designed to separate US user data from ByteDance’s Chinese operations, to reassure lawmakers. The goal of this initiative was to guarantee that US data would always be safe and unaffected by foreign entities. Regulators and the public were not entirely persuaded of TikTok’s independence, nevertheless, by Project Texas, according to investigations like those conducted by journalist Alex Heath.

The US government is being sued by TikTok over a rule that requires ByteDance to cease operations in the US by January 19, 2025, or risk being banned. The business maintains its legal battle with the government, claiming that divestment is not practical. Although there are no plans for a sale, insiders indicate that finishing the code split could make it easier to sell in the future if needed.


The alleged attempts to develop an algorithm that is exclusive to the US are a reflection of TikTok’s continuous battle to allay worries about national security and stay out of trouble with the law. Even though TikTok is splitting its source code, the intricate project highlights the considerable efforts being made to guarantee that the app’s US operations are separate from those of its Chinese parent. The result of these initiatives and the continuing legal disputes will determine how TikTok develops in the US.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *