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ByteDance won't sell TikTok, would rather pull it from the US

ByteDance plans to exhaust every legal strategy it can, but if it comes down to it, the company won't sell TikTok.

Published onApril 26, 2024

Tiktok stock photo on smartphone
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Anonymous sources have told a reliable news outlet that ByteDance will not sell TikTok.
  • In light of the United States ban, ByteDance will fight using all legal maneuvers possible.
  • However, if all else fails, the company would rather pull TikTok from the US than sell it.

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden signed an international aid bill that included a ban on TikTok. The video-sharing social network is owned by Chinese company ByteDance and is believed to be a potential national security threat due to its overwhelming popularity in the US combined with ByteDance’s ties to the Chinese government.

Biden has given ByteDance nine months to sell TikTok to a non-Chinese firm or face a full-on ban across the US. Now, a new report from Reuters suggests ByteDance has no intentions to sell TikTok. Instead, the company will try to win in court. If that doesn’t work, the company is prepared to oblige with the ban — but it will not sell.

This information comes from four separate sources speaking anonymously with Reuters.

Apparently, ByteDance values TikTok’s algorithms too much to sell them. For those unaware, TikTok’s algorithms — the ones that decide what content to feed you and how to keep you engaged with the platform for as long as possible — are widely regarded as being the best performing systems when compared to all competitors, including those from rival Instagram. It makes sense that ByteDance would not want to part with them, considering they are the main reason TikTok is so popular — and so valuable.

Interestingly, the sources also claim that TikTok’s revenue from the United States is not as valuable as one might think. In fact, a shutdown in the US would only have a “limited impact” on ByteDances revenue, to quote from Reuters.

In other words, expect the next nine months to be filled with ByteDance’s lawyers trying to change the US government’s mind about this ban. It could try to argue that the ban is unconstitutional based on First Amendment rights, but since the ban on TikTok is due to concerns with national security, this would be a difficult fight to win. Either way, if it comes down to a sale or a ban, it looks like ByteDance is ready for the ban.

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