TikTok is developing a new recommendation algorithm for its 170 million U.S. users to make its platform independent from ByteDance, its Chinese parent company. This move could alleviate concerns from American lawmakers who might consider banning the app. This initiative began before the recent intensification of legislative activities in Congress, which led to a law in April mandating TikTok to divest its U.S. operations.

Sources who requested anonymity disclosed that this separation of source code could set the stage for eventually selling off TikTok’s U.S. assets. Despite these developments, the company stated that there are no immediate plans for such actions, reaffirming that divesting its U.S. assets is not currently feasible. After initial silence, TikTok criticized these reports as misleading without further clarification. They also argued in a federal lawsuit that the required divestiture within the set timeframe is impractical and technologically unfeasible. Recently, engineering teams from the U.S. and China at ByteDance and TikTok have been working hard to separate millions of lines of code, particularly those related to the recommendation algorithm. This demanding task underlines the difficulties in separating TikTok’s U.S. operations from ByteDance. Despite facing significant legal and technical challenges, TikTok continues its efforts to ensure its U.S. operations remain autonomous, although this may lead to performance differences after the separation.