TikTok offers to share algorithm details in bid to swerve US ban

TikTok users are demonstrating their rizz. (Hello I’m Nik/Unsplash)
TikTok users are demonstrating their rizz. (Hello I’m Nik/Unsplash)

TikTok is offering to share details of its recommended algorithms to US officials as it battles to avoid being banned in the country.

The social media giant, which is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, is hoping to appease regulators with the promise of greater transparency in its operations and a $1.5 billion reorganization plan in the US, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal.

Under the plans being discussed, TikTok would allow US-based tech companies like Oracle to monitor the code the app uses to choose which videos US users see, as well as how it chooses to moderate content and delete videos, the newspaper reported.

It comes as lawmakers in Congress consider legislation that would ban the video-sharing app in the US, with politicians raising concerns about data harvesting by Chinese authorities as well as the ability to influence what content US users get to see on their mobile devices.

The US government first considered banning TikTok in July 2020, with then-president Donald Trump warning that the app posed a threat to national security, while last month, the US House of Representatives banned the use of TikTok on all House-issued mobile devices, also citing security concerns.

Beijing-based Bytedance, which was founded by billionaire Zhang Yiming in 2012, is estimated to be worth $300 billion according to calculations by Bloomberg. The Chinese government is moving to take shares in the company in exchange for having greater decision-making powers, the Financial Times reported last week, in a move which could further unsettle lawmakers in the US.

The TikTok app has been downloaded over 2.6 billion times worldwide, and is estimated to have close to 100 million monthly users in the US.